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Ilium Galbae et Othonis et Vitellii longum et unum annum. 

Tac. Dial, de Oratt. c. 17. 




HpHE great historian of the second century of the Roman 
Empire can hardly be considered one of the authors 
whose personality has disappeared from the range of know- 
ledge, and whose names serve only as titles for their writings. 
On the other hand, we have not sufficient materials for a con- 
tinuous Life of him : the year of his birth can be approxi- 
mately ascertained, but that of his death is wholly unknown : 
his descent, parentage, birthplace, and even his personal 
name, are all uncertain, though, as to these, we have more 
or less substantial materials for conjecture. 

That kindly, pious, versatile man of letters and affairs, St. 
Sidonius Apollinaris, in one of his Epistles quotes from ' C. 
Cornelius/ and in another from ' C. Tacitus' (i. 14 /////., i. 22). 
It is therefore plain that in the belief of a well-read man of the 
fifth century, the historian bore the praenomen Gaius; and 
there would be no ground for questioning his testimony, but 
that it is contradicted by another respectable authority, the 
first Medicean ms., which calls him Publius in the subscription 
to each of the first three books, as well as in the title, which 
Ritter ascribed to a later hand. Nipperdey considers the 
latter authority the higher ; but it is hard to guess what should 
have led Sidonius wrong, while Ritter suggests that a scribe 
who knew history was used to the combination P. Cornelius. 
Most recent editors, including Nipperdey himself, think it 
tac. b 


safest to omit the praenomen altogether; all our evidence 
shows that his contemporaries usually spoke of him without it. 

In Pliny's Natural History, vii. 1 7, we hear that a Cornelius 
Tacitus, Procurator of Belgic Gaul, had an overgrown and 
imbecile child, who — we are perhaps to understand — died in 
convulsions at three years old. Now, the cognomen Tacitus 
is not so common but that the identity of name creates a 
presumption of relationship between the two men bearing it — 
perhaps, even, that the elder was the natural or adoptive 
father of the younger, — though, if the historian's father was a 
Cornelius, and his mother the sister or daughter of a Tacitus, 
whether Cornelius or no, this would account for his inheriting 
the name. If we could be sure that the father of the mons- 
trosity was the father of the historian, there would be a certain 
interest in the fact, as proving that the elder Pliny was inti- 
mate enough with the elder Tacitus to have seen a member 
of his family who would naturally be kept out of sight ; and 
thus illustrating the beginnings of the friendship which we 
know to have existed between their namesakes in the next 

With the exception of this presumable relationship, we 
know nothing of Tacitus' family or descent. But the name 
Cornelius, undoubtedly borne by him, suggests the question, 
whether he belonged to a patrician house (though, if so, to 
an obscure branch of it), or to a family admitted to citizen- 
ship in comparatively modern times, presumably by Sulla. 
It is consistent with either view, that his family should have 
been of equestrian rank — neither nobles nor parvenus — as 
we may conclude it to have been, not only from his supposed 
relationship to the Procurator, but from his own statement in 
Hist. i. 1. 4, which implies that he had no hereditary claim 
to be admitted to the Senate. On the one hand, there were 
branches of the oldest houses [e.g. of the Octavii) that never 


entered the Senate ; and again we hear of another Cornelius 
{Hist. ii. 86. 5), who, whether patrician or not, senatorium 
ordinem exuerat If an ancestor of Tacitus' had done the 
same, two or three generations back, it is intelligible that a 
man who had abdicated nobility without forfeiting respecta- 
bility, should be mentioned with the respect he retained, but 
without allusion to the pretensions he had renounced, which, 
in his present modest condition, it might be ridiculous to 
remember. On the other hand, Julius Graecinus (Agr. 4. 1) 
was no patrician Julius, but merely a citizen of the vetus et 
illustris Forojidiensiwn colonia; yet he inherited and married 
into an equestris nobilitas, and, without exciting astonishment, 
attained and bequeathed a senatorial. Now Tacitus' citizen- 
ship was in any case a generation older than his father-in- 
law's ; it may therefore have been regarded as old, and have 
enabled him, without vanity or affectation, to assume the 
tone of a genuine Roman, and one of no mean birth. 

The truth is, that the question of the origin of Tacitus' 
family is less important than it looks, being quite distinct 
from the more interesting question of its social position at 
his birth. By his time the historical nobility of Rome was 
disappearing, though the aristocratical tradition, which the 
early Emperors had more or less respected, was not re- 
cognised to be growing obsolete. The Nobility in the 
technical sense — the hierarchy of office — had become even 
more systematised under the Empire than in the most oli- 
garchical days of the Republic ; but the old Senatorial oligarchy, 
which had been shaken and discredited by the Gracchi and 
Marius, and had been to some extent liberalised and reformed 
at its restoration by Sulla, was utterly disorganised in the 
Caesarian Civil Wars. Julius had introduced the principle 
of la carrilre ouverte anx talents, the denial of which had 
alienated his uncle; Augustus saw that, this principle being 


established, it was safer to mould the Senate by its means 
than to assert it against a hostile Senate. The consequence 
was, that the Senate ceased to be an aristocracy of birth, 
without ceasing, any more than the English House of Lords, 
to feel itself one. Every one whose father had been a Senator 
was ipso facto noble ; old nobility had a sentimental advan- 
tage over new ; but the only distinction between senator and 
senator that carried any practical advantage was the distinc- 
tion, not of the date of the first honours gained by the family, 
but of the height of the last. Pater co/isularis, avus praetorius 
put Otho on a level, as a candidate for the Principate, with a 
Crassus and a Piso. Vitellius was indebted, as Tacitus says, 
to his father's eminence for his consulship, his priesthoods, 
his name and place in the foremost ranks ; some said he was 
indebted to the same cause for his ancient pedigree; but 
whether his pedigree was ancient or modern made no differ- 
ence to his being made Emperor. 

There was also a special and comparatively recent influence 
at work to counteract any surviving reverence for the old 
nobility above the new. Julius and Augustus had admitted 
old families to the Patriciate ; Claudius 1 and Vespasian began 
the admission of distinguished individuals belonging to new 
ones. It does not follow because the Patriciate had long 
ceased to have any political significance, that this deliberate 
revival of it was without political effect. Under the early 
Empire, a Drusus, an Ahenobarbus, or a Piso had been, in 
his own eyes, and in those of his class, as much the natural 
equal of a Caesar or a Nero as he had been under the 
Republic, though there might be a few priesthoods to which 
he was ineligible. But to a man of a respectable and re- 

1 He admitted personal claims, and did not look back more than a 
generation for hereditary ; Ann. xi. 2$. 3. Vespasian, as far as appears, 
considered personal claims only. 


spected family in a municipal town, whether in or beyond 
Italy, it was perhaps even more significant when he was 
admitted to the honorary privileges of a civis ofitimi juris, 
than when he was admitted to the more substantial ones. 
For a man from, suppose, Northern Italy, of Tuscan or Gallic 
descent, to be made Senator or Consul, proved only that the 
Empire was becoming cosmopolitan ; but it seemed to prove 
that the man was himself become a true Roman, when he 
learnt that he might leave a son qualified to act as Flamen 
to Juppiter or Quirinus. In this way the extension ot the 
Patriciate had the same effect as that of the Senatorial nobility : 
it served to prolong the tradition that Rome was an aristo- 
cratical community, after the reality of aristocratical exclusive- 
ness had disappeared. If, from one point of view, we may 
say that the Senate was strengthened and its authority saved 
by receiving new blood like the English House of Peers, from 
another we may say that the new creations tended to reconcile 
the sentiments and aspirations of rival classes, like the titles 
of nobility granted by Napoleon. 

Whether Tacitus himself received the Patriciate, assuming 
that he did not inherit it, it would be idle to conjecture ; but 
the fact that his dignitas a Domitiano longius provecia included 
a priesthood, as well as his uniform tone in speaking of priestly 
appointments, seems to show that we are not wrong in assign- 
ing importance to these merely honorary distinctions, as a 
means whereby new families were enabled, at least after a 
generation or two, to fall into their places among the ancient 
nobility. Another thing to be remembered is, that the new 
families admitted by political or religious office into Roman 
nobility might be, and often were, old and eminent already 
in their own towns. Just as Roman citizenship -diffused itself, 
till it included all that was dignified in Italy and the Provinces, 
so a process of centralisation went on correlative to the diffu- 


sion, because every one in Italy who had any sense of his own 
dignity was drawn to Rome as the only place that offered a 
career worthy of him. One other career, no doubt, there was 
open to the local notable, viz., the army; and it was by 
military service only that the notables of the Provinces had 
yet begun to rise. But the traditions of the Republic had 
still so much force, that the civil and military careers were 
intertwined in the case of aspirants to eminence ; the manipu- 
lars and centurions were a class apart from the mass of the 
citizens, but the tribunes and legates of the legions were not 
a class apart from, scarcely a separate profession among, the 
mass of the minor nobility. It was expected that a young 
noble should serve a campaign or two before he entered the 
Senate, just as it was expected that he should make himself 
heard in the Law Courts; this custom must have softened 
the feeling of surprise when a person, whose name had only 
been heard as that of a soldier, came forward as an aspirant 
for civil distinction, 1 and, as time went on, even to the Prin- 
cipate (cf. Hist i. 84. 10). 

On the whole, then, it is likeliest that Tacitus came of a 
respectable family — from what part of Italy 2 is unknown — 
which had received Roman citizenship from Sulla, and had 
since then maintained with dignity, perhaps with distinction, 
the equestrian rank to which its wealth entitled it. 

The date of his birth can be more easily, though only in- 

1 veavicTKOS 'IotfXcos KaXovdcrrpos, KexiXiapxnK&s cs (SovXdas i\7rlda. — Dio, 
lxvii. 11. 4. 

2 It seems a very rash inference that C. Cornelius Tacitus must have 
been a native of Interamna because his descendant M. Claudius Tacitus 
was so. From the difference of gentile name, the descent was probably 
in a female line ; indeed, such seems to have been the opinion of the good 
people of Terni, who put up a monument to their supposed townsman 
Cornelius, on which not only Claudius Tacitus, but his uterine brother 
Annius Florianus, are called his descendants. 


directly, ascertained. He speaks of himself as juvenis ad- 
modum in a.d. 74-5, the professed date of the Dialogue, now 
generally held to be rightly ascribed to him; as juvenis when, 
three years later, he married the daughter of Agricola; he was, 
apparently, of senatorial age before Vespasian's death in July 
79 ; he was Praetor under Domitian in 88. His friend Pliny 
says that they were aetate et dignitate propemodum aequales^ and 
tells, on Tacitus' own authority, a story which implies that a 
personal stranger could not guess from their appearance which 
of them he was talking to ; on the other hand, when Tacitus 
said that the two looked over each other's unpublished works 
' like fellow-pupils or mutual teachers,' Pliny replied that he 
was the pupil and Tacitus the teacher, and makes the some- 
what more definite statement, equidem adukscentulus, cum jam 
tu fama gloriaqueftoreres, te aequi . . . concupzscebam (Plin. Ep. 
vii. 20. 4. viii. 7. 1). Pliny's compliments to his correspond- 
ents are no doubt rhetorical, but we have no reason to 
suppose them insincere ; at any rate, mock modesty is the 
last form of insincerity that he can be charged with. It is 
therefore plain, that Tacitus must have been by some years 
the elder of the two, and the earlier in gaining personal 
distinction; indeed, it is not too much to surmise that he, 
already eminent for his speeches, and perhaps for writings 
of which the Dialogus de Oratoribus is the sole surviving 
specimen, succeeded to the place left vacant in the young 
student's mental Heroum, by his uncle's death at Vesuvius. 

All these notes of time concur to prove that the birth of 
Tacitus cannot fall much earlier, nor any later, than the first 
half of the year 54 a.d. Most commentators, indeed, seem 
to think the date fixed on both sides, assuming that Tacitus 
would attain the quaestorship at the earliest legal age, or 
desiring to minimise the interval between his birth and 
Pliny's. The first assumption falls to the ground, if we 


believe Tacitus not to have been of senatorial family; he 
may, as Ritter says, have enjoyed the inoffensus honorum 
cursus, but he had first to win, by his own merits, the first 
step upon it. The second argument, though deserving more 
consideration, is hardly decisive ; it is rather curious that a man 
of perhaps thirty-seven should say to a man of forty-seven that 
they were nearly of an age, but it does not materially lessen 
the difficulty if we reduce the difference of their years from ten 
to eight. Pliny, we know, was born in a.d. 61-2, and began 
to practise in the Forum at nineteen ; now by that time we 
know, from Tacitus' own words, that his position was estab- 
lished and his steady rise begun ; he may have been only 
twenty-six, but is as likely to have been a year or two older. 

We may thus venture to begin the story of Tacitus' life as 
known to us with his birth in a.d. 52 or soon after. He 
must have assumed the toga virilis either during or im- 
mediately after the ' long year ' of the Civil Wars, and, though 
not an immediate spectator of their events, must in all likeli- 
hood have been competent to observe and remember the 
current of popular feeling during their course, at least in his 
own neighbourhood and among his own class. 

It would be interesting if we could be sure that his child- 
hood had been passed, in part, in Northern Gaul ; it would 
not only help to account for the existence of his invaluable 
tract on Germany, but would also connect itself with the 
length and vigour of his description of the revolt of Civilis, 
of which he seems, more fully than either contemporary or 
later historians, to have discerned the fatal significance. 
Civilis was scarcely an Alaric, or at any rate the Batavians 
of the first century were a very different nation from the Goths 
of the fifth ; and the rash, vain, soft-hearted Sabinus was 
as ridiculous a precursor as could well be imagined for Theo- 
doric or Charlemagne; yet the German o-Gallic revolt con- 


ducted by them was a presage, what in theological language 
is called a type, 1 of the process by which the Empire was 
broken up. It showed, on the one hand, that the Barbarians 
beyond its borders were not incapable of assuming the aggres- 
sive, and, on the other, that the Romanised Barbarians within 
them were beginning to distinguish between the Roman civilisa- 
tion and discipline, to which they owed everything, and the 
dominion of Rome, which they felt as an external and re- 
movable burden. The speech of Cerealis at Treves is an 
attempt to confound the two, but it reads as though the 
historian who composed it was conscious that he was em- 
bodying a sophism. 

That Tacitus at some period of his life gained personal 
acquaintance with the German frontier, may be considered 
almost certain ; that it may have dated from boyhood is not 
unlikely, but the known facts of his early manhood imply an 
education and social connections scarcely consistent with 
a very long absence from Rome. We find him there when 
at most two-and-twenty, enjoying the entree to the best 
literary society of the capital. Of course, indeed, the 
Dialogue is not to be regarded as a faithful record of an 
actual conversation, such as could only be obtained if each 
speaker's words were taken down in short-hand, or at least 
written out from memory by the reporter before bed-time. 
But we are plainly meant to regard as historical the fact of 
Maternus' recitation of his Cato at the date given, and, with 
so many precedents in Plato and Cicero for the second-hand 
form of reporting a dialogue, it would have been gratuitously 
absurd for the author to pretend to have been personally 

1 It would be out of place here to discuss the grounds on which the 
Apocalypse is now generally assigned to this period. But it is worth 
remembering, in relation to the seer's apparent anticipation of an immediate 
fulfilment of his visions, that the year 69-70 witnessed a symbolical fall of 
' Babylon/ as well as the actual judgment on ' Sodom and Egypt.' 


present if it had been physically impossible — gratuitously im- 
pertinent if it had been morally impossible — that he should 
at that time have visited Maternus in his private room. 

The Dialogue is plainly the work of a man who had 
experience of the fashionable system of training in an unreal 
rhetoric, which his Messala so earnestly condemns. At the 
same time, educational systems are generally condemned by 
those who have indeed been brought under them, but too 
late, or for too short a time, to be moulded by them ; and 
the temper and opinions of Tacitus, as expressed in the 
Dialogue, possibly also the eccentricities of his later style, are 
such as would be explained on the hypothesis that his training 
as a speaker, though adequate, had been desultory or inter- 
rupted, whether from the distractions of the Civil Wars, from 
his father's provincial engagements, or from some cause beyond 
the reach not only of our knowledge but of our conjectures. 

Both the matter and form of the Dialogue show that at 
the time of its composition the paramount influence on the 
young orator's growing mind was that of Cicero and his con- 
temporaries, and we may presume that as a speaker, no less 
than as a writer, he acknowledged these as more or less his 
models. His reputation must have been gained rapidly. He 
can hardly have been above twenty-five when the Consul, Julius 
Agricola, selected him as the husband for his only daughter. 
In a man like Agricola, of warm domestic affections, this 
choice may be considered a testimony to the viituous and 
amiable character of its object ; but it doubtless also implies 
that his established position or well-assured prospects were 
of the most brilliant order. A month or two after the 
betrothal, in the beginning of the year 78, the marriage took 
place, and it is implied that it was a happy one by two or 
three hints, not less trustworthy, because more delicate, than 
Pliny's elaborate list of his second wife's virtues in a published 


letter to her aunt. How many children were born is not 
recorded ; Nipperdey infers that there were none at Agricola's 
death, because none are mentioned in Agr. 46. 3. If he is 
right, the descendants whom Tacitus undoubtedly left must 
have been by a second wife, or by adoption; but the argument 
seems unsound. The eldest child could not have seen his 
grandfather after he was eleven, and may not have been grown 
up when the Life was published — either quite a sufficient 
reason why he should not be included in the dedication with 
his mother and grandmother. 1 The family continued to exist 
till the fifth century : the Emperor M. Claudius Tacitus (born 
a.d. 200) boasted of his descent from the historian, and 
Sidonius Apollinaris compliments his friend Polemius on the 
same descent in a passage already cited (Ep. i. 14 init.) 

It was either just before or shortly after his marriage that 
Tacitus was admitted by Vespasian to the quaestorship, and 
so to the Senate. During the short reign of Titus he received 
some step of promotion, presumably the tribunate or aedile- 
ship, which were now (Dio lii. 20) alternatives in the series 
of offices. We have seen already that it is a fair inference 
from Pliny's language that before Titus' death his position 
was unrivalled. The publication of the Dialogue is referred 
to this time ; the depreciation of modern oratory with which 
it commences would come in better taste from a man who 
had already gained such oratorical fame as the time afforded, 
than from an aspirant to it ; and the complimentary allusion 
to Vespasian is perhaps rather such as would be natural in* 
his son's day than in his own, while, on the other hand, it 
seems to be proved by Agr. 2. 3, 3. 2, that during Domitian's 
reign Tacitus wrote or published nothing. Certainly that 
passage is hardly consistent with his having taken so bold a 

1 The words nos domum tuam in 46. 1 do seem to imply grandchildren 
oi Agricola : a son-in-law was hardly a member of the domut. 


step as to write a book whose motive is sympathy with a man 
whom the reigning Emperor put to death for his poetical 
republicanism, and calling attention to the fact that his wiser 
father had refused to take notice of the offence. 

It is indeed evident, that though Tacitus felt ill at ease 
under the suspicious rule of Domitian, he never came into 
direct collision with him, nor excited his displeasure. On the 
contrary, his advance was more marked than before ; in a.d. 
88 he was Praetor, and having received, probably at the 
same time, a place among the Quindecimviri, he officiated 
in the direction of the Secular Games celebrated in that year. 
Next year he left Rome, no doubt for a provincial govern- 
ment, but we have no evidence what his province was. 
Ritter thinks, from Hist. iv. 82. i, that he had visited Egypt; 
it is true that Egyptian priests were to be found in plenty 
nearer home, but perhaps his language there, and in Hist ii. 
2. 4, is that of a man who had collected on the spot in- 
formation not generally accessible. But it is, as Ritter says, 
scarcely possible that he, a Praetorian Senator, should have 
administered Egypt, scarcely even that he should have visited 
it, under a jealous ruler like Domitian; see Ann. ii. 59. 4. 
A more popular conjecture is, that he held either the Province 
of Belgic Gaul (with which he may have had a family con- 
nection, — but this would be rather a disqualification than 
otherwise in Domitian's eyes) or one of those of the German 
frontier, in which, apparently, only one of the legates was 
usually of consular rank. It is said in reply to this conjec- 
ture, that there were many persons at Rome, or wherever 
else Tacitus may have lived, who, having held military or 
civil offices in Germany, had opportunity to collect the in- 
formation given in Tacitus' book on that country. But 
while there were many Romans who had the opportunity 
for such observation, it may be doubted if there was any, 


except Tacitus himself, capable of using the opportunity to 
so good purpose ; a few might have been found with the 
patience for collecting facts, but none with equal scientific 
talent for collecting the instructive ones. The really wonder- 
ful thing in the Germany is, not the literary merit, far,les; 
the general sentiments ot the author, but the liberality and 
insight which discerned the interest, historical, psychological, 
and even political, of the customs and institutions of the 
great Barbarian nation. It is a great proof of Tacitus' genius 
that he should have discerned this interest when he saw the 
things; but it could only have been by a scarcely credible 
inspiration, that he should have discerned it from the second- 
hand evidence of men of whom the elder Pliny was the ablest. 

The composition of the Germany, then, may be considered 
as evidence of a visit to that country ; a smaller point may 
serve to corroborate it. In Hist iv. 23. 1 we have the situa- 
tion of the Old Camp described in detail ; yet its topography 
had no great influence on the course of its successive sieges, 
and the works, weak as they were, proved sufficient to repel 
the enemy till the garrison were exhausted with hunger. 
Under these circumstances, it is scarcely likely that Tacitus 
should have written the passage referred to from the informa- 
tion of another ; but if he knew the ground himselt, his giving 
a short description of it is accounted for. 

We may therefore admit it as probable that Tacitus was 
Propraetor of one of the Gallo-German provinces, since he 
appears to have visited the country, and is not likely to have 
done so in a private capacity. His absence from Rome, 
probably from Italy, lasted at least four years; he was out 
of reach when his father-in-law died in August 93. 

Whatever his previous relations with Domitian, they from 
this time assumed a character of settled though suppressed 
hostility. He probably heard at once of Agricola's death 


and of the suspicions that the Emperor had been accessary 
to it ; afterwards, though he was too candid to say that there 
was any substantial grounds for these suspicions, he could 
not shake off the prejudice that had been aroused by them. 
Agricola doubtless was, as he looked, so good a man that 
you were glad to be told he was a great one ; his son-in-law 
had quite made up his mind that he was a great man, and 
thought that, if he had failed to achieve any great work, that 
must be because he had been unjustly repressed by the fault 
of others. And in truth it would doubtless have been wise, 
and might have left some substantial results, if Domitian had 
left him longer in his command in Britain ; — routine tradition 
justified his recall, but there was no practical reason for it, 
except a jealousy which was probably unreasonable, certainly 
in fact unfounded. Or, if we admit the length of Agricola's 
actual command, and the small importance of conquests in 
Caledonia, as a sufficient reason for withdrawing him from 
Britain, a sovereign who 'loved a man' would undoubtedly 
have employed him in Dacia. Yet when he was crebro apud 
Domitiaiium absens accusatus, absens absofutus, we may see 
that Domitian's jealousy did not, even when encouraged from 
without, amount to active or, at least, deadly suspicion, and 
in the few years that followed, there was less than nothing 
to arouse suspicion in Agricola's conduct. It is, of course, 
possible that Domitian, though not prepared to murder an 
innocent and popular man, may have felt a dishonourable 
anxiety to know whether fate might rid him of one whom he 
feared, but is at least equally possible, as Tacitus seems to 
admit, that he was sincerely anxious not to lose the only 
eminent man whom even he had learnt that he could trust. 
Domitian had real faults more than enough ; Tacitus allows 
them to throw a shadow over his dealings with Agricola, 
which, in all likelihood, were as frank as his nature allowed. 


Tacitus 7 absence from Rome does not seem to have lasted 
long after this time. It is possible that after his provincial 
government expired, he found opportunity for an antiquarian 
tour in the East ; such a prolongation of his absence would 
suit what seems to have been his view of the part of a wise 
man, to 'keep silence in the evil time/ and avoid being 
either the instrument or the victim of a tyrant. It is implied 
also, in Agr. 3. 4, that he had written, or at least planned, the 
Histories before the revolution which made it safe to publish 
them, and their composition may have been as easy and more 
secure elsewhere than at Rome. Yet it seems to be the plain 
sense of Agr. 45. 1 that he was present when the Senate was 
compelled to vote the condemnation of Helvidius, Mauricus, 
Senecio, and Arulenus Rusticus, during the two or three last 
years of Domitian's life ; it might be added that he seems to 
reproach himself for having submitted to the compulsion. 
On the other hand, his language about the delatores is always 
that of a man who had kept his own hands clean, and in Agr. 
2. 1 he speaks of the death of the two last of those just 
mentioned as known to him only from books, or, as Ritter 
suggests, from letters and from the public gazettes. We have 
to decide whether it is less likely that in c. 45 Tacitus 
identifies himself entirely with his order, and holds himself 
responsible for what they did in his absence, or that in c. 2 
he identifies himself with his readers, and affects to share 
their remoteness from what he must have known personally. 

However this question may be decided, it may be taken 
for granted that Tacitus neither sacrificed his self-respect to 
Domitian, nor risked his life by opposing him, as his friend 
Pliny (Ep. vii. 33) was proud of having done. But, like 
every one throughout the Empire, he felt Domitian's death 
and the accession of Nerva as a relief; in truth, he belonged 
to the class that had most to gain by it. When he con- 


gratulates Rome and himself upon Nerva's reeonciliation of 
two things formerly incompatible, the Empire and liberty, 
the sentence is neither a flourish of rhetoric nor a courtly 
commonplace ; if we want to put the sentiment in a form 
that shall bring out its weaker side, we may say that it is as 
though our own Junius had announced the discovery, that 
office was not absolutely incompatible with patriotism. 
Under the hereditary Caesars — for the Flavian dynasty had 
been even more strictly hereditary than the Claudian — the 
Senate had indeed been the second power in the State, but 
it had been chronically out of harmony with the first, and 
therefore had been by various means neutralised and re- 
pressed. A statesman who wished the Senate to be supreme, 
or even to manifest an independent activity, found himself 
permanently condemned to 'the cold shade of opposition/ 
and this, in the Roman climate, was a situation very danger- 
ous to health and life. Now, under Nerva, as partly under 
Galba and Vespasian, the Senatorial party found that they 
were 'in, 5 and enjoyed their triumph all the more, in propor- 
tion to the time they had been 'out.' But they had been 
equally exultant almost thirty years before [Hist i. 4. 3) ; and 
it is worth inquiring why the earlier triumph lasted only for 
six months, and the later for more than eighty years, —for at 
first sight, there could not be a closer parallel to the pro- 
clamation of Nerva than that of Galba. An old man, of 
honourable birth and character, had been made the organ 
of the Senate for directing the armies of the State ; the only 
consequence was, that the armies had declined to be directed 
by the Senate at all. Even Galba's own troops, who had 
outrun the Senate in declaring for their general, grew weary 
of him as soon as they learnt that they themselves were to 
gain nothing by their services but the credit ot disinterested 
patriotism. They fraternised with the household troops of 


Nero, and the other forces casually present in the city, in 
proclaiming a pretender of their own ; they easily destroyed 
the Senate's emperor, and the Senate was not slow in acknow- 
ledging theirs. But meanwhile, on every one of the military 
frontiers of the Empire, with two exceptions, a more or less 
formidable pretender had appeared. In Africa, in Germany, 
in Judaea and the East, either soldiers or generals thought 
that they had as good a right as the one legion of Spain or 
Gaul to appoint an emperor, though sometimes the two dis- 
agreed as to the fitness of the general on the spot to be 
appointed. In Illyricum and in Britain there was happily no 
general of energy or popularity sufficient to qualify him for 
a pretender ; the latter army acquiesced in the choice of their 
nearest neighbours, the former at first in that of the capital, 
afterwards in that of the East. For a whole year there was 
virtual anarchy; the Senate could only get their name re- 
spected by lending it to the nearest or the last victorious of 
the military claimants. It was treated with decent respect by 
Otho, with something more by Vitellius and Vespasian, but 
no Senator could help feeling that their power rested on the 
army, and that the influence of his own body, though a real 
one, existed only on sufferance. 

Domitian had insulted the Senate by his domestic con- 
claves at Alba, before he began to oppress or to thin the order. 
Coming after active and successful generals like his father 
and brother, it is remarkable that he, though not personally 
active nor uniformly successful, seems to have retained a 
genuine popularity with the army ; the explanation probably 
is, that what was wanting to him in military fame, he made 
up, partly by a sincere desire for it, and partly by a politic 
devotion to military interests. The course of the revolt of 
Saturninus, and the measures adopted on its repression, seem 
to show that the army of Germany was only engaged in it 

tag. c 


by its general against the soldiers' will; the army of Dacia> 
so far from displaying any disaffection towards Domitian, 
threatened to refuse to acknowledge his successor. The 
Praetorians actually did, not long after Domitian's death, 
break out into mutiny, overpower the new Emperor, and 
massacre the assassins of the old one; all the elements of 
a new period of confusion existed, but they failed to com- 

For one thing, Nerva had less personal unpopularity than 
Galba. Galba was austere both in his virtues and his faults ; 
he was a disciplinarian, probably a purist in morals, but cer- 
tainly indifferent to human life. Nerva was none of the three, 
and the transition between the two was representative of a 
change, both for good and evil, in the spirit of the age. 
The old Roman prejudice against l luxury' — the view that 
there was something sinful in the pursuit of comfort or 
pleasure for its own sake, unless there were some special 
religious or social motive to justify it — was practically obsolete. 
Tacitus himself, without abandoning the older point of view 
in theory, confesses that it had ceased to be practicable to 
regulate men's conduct accordingly; while, on the other 
hand, he says that the grossness of the old Roman gluttony 
had tended to disappear ever since the death of Nero. 
The contrast between austere and unlovely self-respect, and 
1 wretchlessness of most unclean living,' was softened on both 
sides; virtue and pleasure might still point an antithesis in 
philosophical discussions, but the concrete habits of the 
devotees of one were less intolerable to those of the other, 
and the life of a man like Nerva was tolerant of both and 
tolerable by both. 

Meanwhile, the sentiment of humanity had made a real 
progress, owing more to the indirect than to the direct in- 
fluence of Stoicism, owing something, also, to the gradually 


more settled state of the government The well-known say- 
ing of the elder Pliny, Deus est mortali juvare mortalem, etc., 
seems separable from the pessimism which was chiefly a 
matter of his individual temper ; this humanitarian morality, 
which it is hard for a modern to avoid calling Positivism, was 
to all appearance the dominant influence among the better 
men of the next generation. Juvenal, and apparently even 
Vindex, were more shocked by Nero's domestic crimes and 
his personal degradation than by his cruelties to nobles or 
others ; but with Domitian his cruelty stands out as his chief, 
indeed his sole, offence. Titus and Nerva, when each of 
them made and kept a promise to abstain from political 
executions, made the one concession required by the mora! 
feeling of high and low to mark the character of his rule as 
something essentially better than that of his predecessors. 

Nevertheless, there was an element of chance in Nerva's 
success. It was little better than an accident that Nerva 
was not killed in the mutiny of the Praetorians ; it was little 
worse than an accident that Galba had not adopted Titus 
instead of Piso. If he had done so, the conspiracy of Otho 
might have been nipped in the bud, and harmony between 
the Senate and the Army restored, as it was under Nerva 
and Trajan. From the time of Trajan's adoption, the danger 
of anarchy was at an end ; the powers which alone, through 
the medium of opinion or of force, could endanger the stability 
of a government, were both engaged in its support 

In this hopeful state of things, Tacitus returned to political 
life as well as to literary activity. Throughout Domitian's 
reign, he had doubtless been engaged in quietly collecting 
materials for his Histories ; those for the Agrieola and the 
Germany had been for some years complete. But his first 
public appearance proved to be, in foirm at least, political 
rather than literary. Nerva had been proclaimed Emperor 


in September; according to custom, he claimed the office 
of Consul in the ensuing January ; he selected for his col- 
league the aged Verginius Rufus. It seems foolish to speak 
of this as an act of courage, or even a. proof of exceptional 
confidence; it was not likely that the honourable soldier, 
who at fifty-four had twice refused the role of a military 
pretender when forced upon him by an enthusiastic soldiery, 
but had lent his loyal services to every successive govern- 
ment that had any claim to be called legitimate or national, 
should, thirty years later, rebel against a better, and better 
founded government than any, when the soldiers had had 
all that time to forget him. But the appointment was a 
marked compliment, honourable to both giver and receiver, 
even if not of much political significance. The old man died 
in his well-deserved dignity. He had retained to the last the 
active habits of a soldier, and the tastes of a scholar and 
speaker, — the last being the more remarkable, because he was 
not of a noble family in which literary traditions were heredit- 
ary. Reading a large book, standing, he dropped it, and fell 
in trying to recover it ; he broke his thigh-bone, and it scarcely 
needs Pliny's explanation of bad surgery to account for his 
death ensuing. 

Tacitus was nominated to the vacant dignity, and thus 
attained the highest official distinction open to a Roman, 
short of the Principate itself — the collegium Caesaris} The 
first act of his Consulship, the only one recorded, and doubt- 
less the most important, was his pronouncing the funeral 
oration of his predecessor ; Pliny says that to be so celebrated 
after death was the only thing wanting to complete the happi- 
ness of Verginius' life. Tacitus' office can hardly have lasted 
more than a few weeks ; there is no evidence that Nerva had 
altered the custom according to which consuls were appointed 
1 Hist i. 52. 8. 


for two months only. , To have done so would not only have 
been a disappointment to the members of consular families 
who expected the routine of office to carry them, if duly 
qualified, to the same point as their fathers; it would also 
have seriously interfered with public business to diminish the 
number of consulars available for provincial or other offices 
which law or custom forbade to be assigned to men of lower 
rank. From the beginning of March a.d. 97, therefore, 
Tacitus must have retired from office and pursued the pre- 
paration of his works for publication or recitation. 

Early in the following year Nerva died; almost im- 
mediately 1 the Life of Agricola was issued, and it was inti- 
mated in the Preface that this was only an instalment of a 
larger work, a History of the whole period of the Flavian 
Dynasty. In the same year, the Germany was completed; 
it is an amusing bit of republican formalism that he dates 
the work from Trajan's second Consulship, not from the first 
year of his Principate. Whether this date is that of the 
publication, as it may be presumed that it was of the com- 
pletion, of the tract, is a little less certain ; the most reason- 
able view as to the author's purpose in its composition is, 
that it was published with the Histories as an Excursus or 
Appendix. But the Histories themselves may well have been 
ready at the end of this year or in the course of the next ; it 
is implied by what is said of them in the Agricola that they 
were not to be long delayed. We must remember that 
publication was at Rome less of a single, and, so to speak, 
momentary act than in modern or even mediaeval times ; the 
author may not have cared to alter what had been read to a 
circle of friends that included most of their expected readers, 
even though a few years might pass before he sent the MS. 

1 Nerva is spoken of, apparently as living, certainly without the title 
Divtis, at the beginning ; Trajan is called princeps at the end. 


to the bookseller, or directed his own slaves to multiply 
copies. We therefore cannot pretend to establish the exact 
date of the publication of the Histories as a whole, but we 
may safely assign it to the early years of Trajan. 

In his third year, a.d. ioo, we have our last notice of a 
fact in Tacitus' personal history. The provincials of Africa 
brought an action against their oppressive governor, Marius 
Priscus : Tacitus and Pliny were appointed by the Senate to 
conduct the prosecution. The conviction was easily obtained 
— such prosecutions were not undertaken unless there was 
good cause, and the Senate was far from desirous to screen 
evil-doers. Marius was banished; we know not how much 
weight to give to Juvenal's hints, that his punishment sat 
lightly upon him, and failed to carry with it any amends to 
his victims. But there is perhaps some significance in the 
fact, that with all Tacitus' celebrity as an orator, this is the 
only instance where we hear in detail of a case in which he 
was engaged. It shows, what he himself notes in the begin- 
ning of his Dialogue, how far less important position the orator 
occupied, and how much less mark he left on history, than 
in the latter ages of the Republic ; it perhaps may be held 
to show also, that Tacitus took little or no part in the crusade 
against delatores which followed the death of Domitian, as, 
if he had done so, the fact would have found natural mention 
in several of Pliny's letters. 

In the Preface to the Histories, Tacitus announces an 
intention of employing his old age in writing the history of 
the happy times of Nerva and Trajan. It is almost certain 
that he never even commenced such a work. The composition 
of the Annals, in fact, must have occupied nearly the whole 
of the reign of Trajan, for though there were fewer difficulties 
in the way of openly collecting evidence, the collection must 
have been more laborious than when personal recollection 


served for much, and the testimony of personal friends for 
still more. The date of the publication of the Annals is, of 
course, only ascertainable within the same wide limits as that 
of the Histories, — wider, in fact, as the only definite note of 
time contained in the work itself is ii. 61, fin. This must have 
been written in the two or three last years of Trajan ; but we 
can hardly be sure that Tacitus would have felt bound to 
cancel the passage, even if the book was not published till 
the next reign. 

It is presumable that Tacitus did not long survive the com- 
pletion of this, his longest and, in general estimation, his 
greatest work. There are no traces of his having either 
begun to complete his History of the Empire by an account 
of the reign of Augustus (Ann. iii. 24. 4), or to continue it, 
according to his earlier intention (which that passage does 
not prove him to have abandoned), to the end of Trajan's 
reign, which he perhaps survived. The last thing we are 
able to say of him with certainty is, that he was living and 
writing, in the full vigour of his powers, at the age of sixty- 


We have in this sketch of Tacitus' life treated the pro- 
duction of his various books as incidents in his career, rather 
than as constituting its substance. In the eyes of his con- 
temporaries, he was, primarily, the greatest orator of his age, 
and, as orators should be, an able and judicious man of affairs; 
it was a minor matter to them, that he wrote powerfully and 
incisively; it mattered still less that what he wrote is so 
valuable as it is to us. Pliny, to be sure, expects Tacitus' 
Histories to be immortal, and is anxious to secure in them 


a place for his own name ; but if we look at his references 
to his friend's works, we shall see that he (and indeed the 
same is true of most Latin writers, historians included) 
regards the ' immortality ' as due to the work of art; scarcely 
ever is a history valued as a contribution to science or to 
political philosophy. Nearly all editors ascribe the mutilated 
condition in which Tacitus' great works have reached us, to 
his never having been a popular author; and his want of 
popularity was probably owing to his great merits, which 
were scarcely appreciated in his own age, being forgotten 
among men on whom his minor merits produced less effect 
than they then had. It is supposed to be a symptom of public 
neglect, that his descendant, the Emperor, thought it necessary 
to multiply copies of his works under official patronage ; and 
the shortness of his reign makes it improbable that many 
of these official copies were ever produced. Nor can we 
be sure that the order for their production indicates a real 
appreciation of the historian's genius; it does indicate his 
being valued for a purpose, not unworthy, but of transitory 
interest. Under the circumstances of Tacitus' accession, it 
would be possible to appeal to his namesake's works as a 
party support, strengthening and justifying his position as in 
accordance with constitutional precedent. But never after— 
scarcely ever before, since the historian's own time — did the 
peaceful discussion of constitutional precedent become a 
makeweight in practical politics; and this source of interest 
was accordingly dried up. Another, indeed, was opened 
some time later; Christian scholars were interested in his 
account of the Neronian persecution, and still more, as it 
seems, in his probably fuller account of the fall of Jerusalem ; 
it is to their study of these passages that we owe the three or 
four fragments 1 preserved of the lost books. But from one 
2 Given at the end of vol. ii. of this edition. 


of these Christian quotations we learn, incidentally, how little 
the real character of his work was understood; St. Jerome 
(Comm. in Zach., c. xiv., m. 14, pp. 913 sq.), refers to it as 
'the Lives of the Caesars.' Lives of the Caesars were the 
popular historical works of the age, and if it was Lives of 
the Caesars men wanted to read, they naturally went to 
Suetonius for them — who meant to give them what they 
wanted — rather than to Tacitus, who gave it to them only 
incidentally. We have, indeed, a single proof that Tacitus 
had not ceased to interest the class to which he belonged 
and for which he wrote, in the subscription of our ms. of the 
later books, which shows that he was studied by a rhetorician, 
apparently a man of rank, at the end of the fourth century. 
But after the final fall of the Roman senatorial order, there 
remained no one who cared to preserve or multiply his 
works; the few copies in existence disappeared, wholly or 
in part, without leaving descendants. Possibly the preser- 
vation of the one ms. of the earlier books at Corbey — 
certainly the only known mediaeval allusion to the Histories 
— is due to Teutonic patriotism; High and Low Germans 
felt an interest in the records of the deeds of Arminius and 

Of course this interest has in later times rather increased 
than diminished ; but it has been supplemented ever since 
the Renaissance by one of a higher order. Most historians 
have political partialities, though with some it requires atten- 
tion to discover them in their works ; Tacitus is one of the 
few in whom political ideas are more prominent than 
partialities, or even than opinions; and for his political 
ideas he has been mainly valued in modern times. The 
value accorded to them has not always been accorded in- 
telligently; the historian has been treated too much apart 
from his history, and still more, too much apart from history 


in general ; but undoubtedly Tacitus has been better under- 
stood and appreciated for the last three centuries than ever 

Within the last few years a tendency seems to have arisen 
to depreciate him unduly. A reaction has taken place from 
the historical school which 'treated events as if they had 
never happened;' and now, instead of looking at the events 
as if they were the creatures or the dead materials of the 
historian, we look upon the historian's mind as the passive 
product of the course of events. It is not very long since we 
were told that Thucydides wrote his History to expose the 
evils of democracy, and that Tacitus wrote his to expose the 
evils of despotism ; a doctrine would find more favour now, 
which is not very different in substance and not absolutely 
better in form, that Tacitus' opinions are those of the sena- 
torial order or the senatorial party. It is not as absurd to 
suppose that Tacitus wrote 'with a purpose/ as to suppose 
that Thucydides did, and, so far, Thucydides approves better 
his purity of aim as a historian ; on the other hand, Tacitus 
has the higher ethical tone of the two, and also lived in a 
time when party politics were less active and less bitter, and 
on both accounts he seems to us less liable to be misled by 
party spirit. It is quite true that he was a statesman of 
the Roman Empire which he describes, and that we lookers- 
on have a better view of the game than he could while play- 
ing in it ; but less good is done by remembering this, than 
harm by treating all that he says as simply strokes made in 
favour of his own side. 

Thucydides was born and bred a thinker on politics; he 
became a historian because he failed as a practical politician. 
Tacitus had two co-ordinate interests — that of the political 
thinker, and of the literary artist — which were more separate 
in his day than in Thucydides'; but if his political philo- 


sophy was at all diluted by this distraction of interest, it 
is some compensation that the literary form in which it is 
cast is not accidental nor unvalued by the author. Some- 
times we may suspect that a sentiment is expressed rather 
because it was a literary commonplace, appropriate to the 
context, than because it had been thought out from the 
author's experience, or deduced from the events that give 
occasion for it ; but it is something that we feel more secure 
with Tacitus than with most writers of equal intelligence, 
that the moral sources of error in relating facts are at least 
as well guarded against as errors of judgment in explaining 
them. He may have given too much weight to the memoirs 
of Agrippina ; he may have been more credulous of palace 
scandals than sound criticism would warrant ; we have scarcely 
any direct evidence to show that it was so, but if it was, the 
phenomena of his history become more consistent with 
human nature as we know it. So far, we may admit that 
a priori probability is to be set against Tacitus' statements 
of fact, but in questions not depending on the credit of 
evidence, but on sympathies and antipathies, we really have 
no a priori presumption of his being actuated by class or 
party bias. 

Yet while it is a mistake to consider Tacitus as telling his 
whole story in terms of his political creed, it is true that his 
political creed is rather to be gleaned from his whole work 
than deduced from the not very numerous passages where he 
directly expresses his opinion. Or rather, Tacitus was, in 
politics, as in philosophy and religion, a man without a creed, 
though not without faith; we cannot expect the opinions 
expressed by him in individual passages to combine into a 
consistent whole, but must judge what was his habitual tone 
of mind from these and other indications of the moods which 
his mind passed through. And we aie not to assume too 


confidently that even his habitual tone of mind was the same 
through life. The young, cheerful, and hopeful rhetorician 
whom we make acquaintance with in the Dialogue is a differ- 
ent character from the grave disappointed man of forty-five 
who speaks in the first paragraphs of the Agricola; and as the 
Histories and Germany rapidly follow, we still trace a severe 
and gloomy theory of life — the world is a bad place, and un- 
redeemed from evil, though many even of its evils serve to 
supply an intellectual interest that commands both happiness 
and respect, and though prosperity and security make self- 
respect easy, and self-respect makes life endurable even in 
this evil world. On the other hand, twenty years of this pro- 
sperity, security, and self-respect, twenty years' contemplation 
of the good government that afforded them, was not without 
consolatory effect. It would, no doubt, be a paradox to say 
that the tone of the A?mals is more cheerful than that of the 
Histories; the period recorded excites the author's indignation 
more, and he naturally treats it with more bitterness. But it 
is a question if this bitterness came from very deep in his 
heart. A pessimist temper, once formed, is not likely to be 
thrown off in old age, but it ceases to imbitter the life or the 
character, when pessimism is thrown back upon the past, 
and its inquiry is, why the former days were not better than 
these, but on the contrary a great deal worse. The author 
of the Annals is aware that he is living in a silver age ; he 
doubts if there ever was a golden. He proves that it was not 
at any time since the reign of Augustus, scarcely in it ; he 
does not deny that there was a heroic age, to say the least, 
in the days of the Republic, but he seems to feel that the 
glory of its heroes is safest when enshrined in myth or haloed 
with the mist of time. If he. writes more like a Republican 
than he had twenty years earlier, it is only as Scott wrote 
more like a Jacobite than Johnson, and Aytoun more than 


Scott; Republicanism, like Jacobitism, had sunk from the 
level of a matter of party, and become a matter of sentiment. 

But these successive changes of temper are not, to any- 
perceptible extent, accompanied by changes of opinion. The 
hankering after Republicanism as an ideal, while acknowledg- 
ing the Empire as a necessity, and, when the author wrote, 
a beneficent one, — the feeling that, as Roman greatness was 
gained under the leadership of the Senate, so the Senate had 
a prescriptive right to its dignity being preserved, while yet 
it is clearly acknowledged that the Senate has lost its power 
of directing the government, and is tacitly confessed that it 
has lost its fitness also, — these are the views or the sentiments 
of the Dialogue, the Histories, and the Annals alike. There 
is some difference in the way that they are conceived, or at 
least expressed ; in the Dialogue we hear less of the Senate 
and more of the position held by its leading members ; but 
this is sufficiently to be accounted for by the subject and form 
of the work ; it is only in the choice of subject, if anywhere, 
that we trace the influence of the youth, the ambition, or the 
habits and prospects of the author. 

At first sight, this craving after an ideal confessed to be 
unattainable seems a weakness ; but it is closely connected 
with Tacitus' chief merit as a historian of the Roman polity. 
He looks upon the history of Rome as continuous : the 
Caesarian revolution that culminated after Actium makes a 
great epoch in that history, — but it is an epoch in the history 
that began with the kings, not the commencement of a new 
history on the site of the old. The value and significance of 
this historical method of viewing contemporary politics seems 
to have grown upon the historian ; it certainly was not peculiar 
to him, but was a result of the traditions of the order 
and nation he belonged to, — the aspect of their greatness 
by which he as a historian was most influenced. In the 


Dialogue it is perhaps no more than the necessary result of 
the subject, that we get few references to the ages before that 
of the incipient revolution ; yet it is significant that the author 
insists on and exaggerates the nearness in time of the Republi- 
can period; still more so is the passage where he suggests 
Menenius Agrippa as the type of a really ancient Roman 
orator. In the great historical works, notices like that of the 
unconstitutional deposition of Caecina, of the unprecedented 
adoption of Nero, or even of the rather silly remark made upon 
Augustus' thirteen consulships, are symptoms of this character- 
istic feeling or method ; while in passages like the exordium 
of the Annals, or Hist. ii. 38, iii. 72, Ann. xi. 22, we have it 
deliberately expressed and applied. The antiquarianism of 
Hist. iv. 83 sqq., Amu xi. 14, and other passages that might 
be named, is a natural outgrowth of this view of history. An 
unsympathetic reader might think that the taste for anti- 
quarianism was the cause, the sense of the value of historical 
antiquities the effect ; but that this would be unjust both to 
Tacitus and to his age is proved by their judgment on a mere 
antiquarian like Claudius. 

It would be more satisfactory to many of Tacitus' readers 
now, if it were possible to deduce from his works a consistent 
scheme of what he thought ought to be the respective powers 
of the Prince and the Senate ; if, in fact, he had sketched a 
paper constitution for the Rome or the Roman Empire of his 
day. So it would have been more satisfactory to readers of 
an earlier generation, if Tacitus' offer to his readers had been 
the same as Livy's, Inde tibi tuaeque reipublicae quod imitere 
capias, inde foedum inceptu, foedum exitu, quod vites. The 
devout and yet not disinterested spirit in which he is quoted 
by such a writer as Sir A. Alison (who quotes him very often, 
and by no means stupidly) is nearly the same to which we are 
accustomed in quotations from another Volume — 


' in hoc libro quaerit sua dogmata quisque, 
Inque hoc inveniet dogmata quisque sua.' 

But as we have learnt that Tacitus' lesson is larger than can 
be embodied in quotations or conveyed by single examples, 
so we may learn that it is too well considered for its principles 
to be enunciated in a sentence, or for its worth to be esti- 
mated in inverse proportion to the neatness of the epigram it 
inspires. He gives us no doubt half-truths, but with truth as 
with material possessions, the half is often more than the 
w r hole ; those have learnt most from him who are most in 
sympathy with him, not those who are best able to give 
account of their agreement or disagreement with his particular 
statements and doctrines. For these reasons, it seems to be 
a mistake to attempt to enunciate Tacitus' political opinions 
by collecting in one body all the passages where they seem to 
be expressed ; the collection given below, founded on that in 
Nipperdey's Preface, is to be viewed rather as a vivarium in 
which his thoughts may be observed, than an anatomical 
museum in which they are separately arranged and classified. 
That Tacitus was heartily loyal to the Senate ; that he was 
convinced, without heartiness, of the necessity of the Empire \ 
that while he recognised that the popular element in the old 
republican constitution was deservedly obsolete, he was 
neither indifferent nor unjust to the popular party in the past; 
— so much may be said without risk or error ; but wherever 
he seems to express political doctrines with more detail and 
definiteness, we must not forget the possibility that he either 
states them dramatically, as being held by the leading 
characters or the populace at the time he is describing, or 
gives vent to them as the sentiments provoked by his im- 
mediate subject, which must be compared with and balanced 
by other independent sentiments, before we can be sure (if 
we ever can) what was his deliberate opinion. 


With some allowance for this source of uncertainty, we may- 
say that there seems to be one point in which Tacitus' views 
on the politics of his age went beyond acquiescence in the 
status quo under Trajan ; or at least that he discerned and 
formulated one of the good points in the actual constitution, 
which both statesmen and people in general regarded as 
accidental. The one element of instability and uncertainty 
in the imperial constitution. — the one source of revolution 
which was never closed, — was not the difficulty of adjusting 
the relations of the various powers in the state, but that of 
providing for the transmission of those powers. Sovereignty, 
it was agreed, lay for all practical purposes in the hands of the 
Emperor ; the authority of the Senate became in fact, what it 
had in historical times always been in theory, a moral rather 
than a legal force ; and the power of the people, such as it had 
been in prehistorical times, was now represented by the power 
of the army, — a power unquestionably real, and not denied to 
be rightful, but which could scarcely ever be exercised at less 
cost than a revolution. So far all was clear; the only un- 
solved question was, how the Emperor was to be appointed. 
The office had not been made, but grown : it had grown from 
two roots, and it was not determined from which it should be 
conceived to draw its life, or whether it was now independent 
of both. In theory, the Princeps Senatus would naturally be 
designated by the unanimous choice of the Senate, the 
Imperator by the unanimous applause of her soldiers ; but 
it was clear that these two were not necessarily harmonious, 
and if they differed, it was by no means so clear which 
ought to prevail, as it was which would prevail in practice. 
Meanwhile, the de facto monarchical government had, from 
the first, shown the tendency common to all monarchies 
to become hereditary; but if the sovereignty were allowed 
to descend as an ordinary patrimony, the Senate suffered 


in their self-respect, and the Army in their class interest and 

Tacitus appears to have conceived as a theory that system of 
succession that in fact answered best ; the wisdom proved by 
his conception of it is the greater, that its practical value was 
shown at least as much after his time as before. He held that > 
the Emperor should designate his successor under the form of 
adoption ; this would avoid the dangers of an interregnum, 
which, with two co-ordinate and independent powers in the 
state, would be virtual anarchy ; and at the same time, the 
choice of a patriotic and intelligent sovereign is as real a 
representation of the national will as the choice of a popular 
body, ' representative ' in the modern technical sense. He had 
heard of the adoption of Tiberius by Augustus, of Germanicus 
by Tiberius, of Nero by Claudius ; he had seen what came of 
the adoption of Piso by Galba, and of Trajan by Nerva. The 
earlier precedents were not so encouraging as to make mani- 
fest the promise in the last of the reigns of Hadrian and the 
Antonines ; but the genius of Tacitus discerned the promise, 
which he puts into the mouth of the unfortunate Galba, as 
though by way of consolation for his failure to fulfil it. 

Tacitus' opinions on speculative subjects are perhaps more 
definitely to be ascertained than on political, though it is pro- 
bable that they were even less definite in themselves. While 
less closely connected with the substance of his work, we feel 
more interest, and are more easily aroused to sympathy, for 
his partial and not very successful guesses at ' the riddle of the 
painful earth/ than for his diagnosis, or even his hints on the 
regimen, of the hypertrophy of the Roman body politic. The 
questions he asked of himself, or of heaven and earth, are 
among the questions which men are still asking, with or with- 
out an answer or the hope of one ; moreover, we may to some 
extent learn what questions to ask, and how, if at all, to 
tac d 


answer them, by seeing which questions he felt most pressing 
for solution, and which he either despaired of solving or was 
content to leave unsolved. 

Something has already been said of the partial moral re- 
generation of Tacitus' age, of the growth in it of a sentiment 
of humanity, to serve as the basis of morality, in place of the 
older idea of discipline. Tacitus himself was not blind to 
this spirit of the time, nor does he ever express disapproval 
or aversion for it; but his own moral judgments rest upon 
the older foundation. 'When you are at Rome, do as the 
Romans,' is with us a maxim whose scope is manifestly 
limited to things indifferent ; but to an ancient citizen, ' When 
you are a Roman, do as the Romans do/ was the first of 
ethical principles, the foundation of the sense of duty in the 
most essential as well as in the most conventional matters. 
Tacitus sometimes seems to think, as Juvenal expressly says, 
that the guilt of Nero's public musical and dramatic perform 
ances was identical in kind, and comparable in degree, with 
that of the murders of Britannicus and Octavia, or the marriage 
of Pythagoras. This appears strange to us, and Tacitus gradu- 
ally came to feel that it was hard to justify intellectually ; but 
we can explain it historically. The raw material of moral 
sentiment in all ages is the habit of adherence to the customs 
among which we have grown up ; this is found insufficient for 
guidance in the requirements of a complicated society, and 
requires to be supplemented by prudential maxims or emotional 
impulses, such as are supplied by legislation, by ethical specula- 
tion or reflection, or by religious exhortation and belief; but 
the conception of * duty/ defined as ' to do as other men are 
doing/ 1 if often inadequate or misleading, is not inoperative. 
It doubtless was the ultimate motive of the Fijian who told 
Sir John Lubbock that he killed his mother ' because it was 

1 Clough's Poems : The New Bethesda. 


right ;' it also is the base of the sense of rectitude arid honour 
in nobler savages like Simeon and Levi, 3 and in commonplace 
moderns whose intellectual life is narrow. 2 It is therefore 
not to be wondered at if we trace its power at an intermediate 
stage of human history ; and at Rome its power was excep- 
tionally prolonged. A law, imposed by a known law-giver, 
by obedience to which things may be kept as they are at their 
best ; an ideal, better than anything which now visibly exists, 
to which human life may yet be made to conform ; a tendency 
in the world, or in human life, to become better than it has 
been, or a power, above man and the world, capable of mak- 
ing it so ; — any of these, when suggested either by independent 
thought or by real or supposed revelation, serves to supple- 
ment, and in part supersede, the old crude ethics of custom ; 
or, again, these may be modified and systematised, by analysis 
and mutual reconciliation of the customary rules, until some 
principle, like that of general utility, is discovered underlying 
them, which gives them, when amended in detail, a speculative 
justification, or at least a defence from adverse speculation. 
All progressive societies, ancient and modern, have learnt to 
base their moral code on one or all of these defensible 
grounds; but just because at Rome the traditional morality 
was so strong, it did not spontaneously seek any external 
support. 3 From the days of Cato to those of Augustus, 
Roman morality was going to pieces, and those who were 
endeavouring to reconstruct it were, not quite unjustly, sus 

1 ' The men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had 
wrought folly in Israel, . . . and so is not done. ' — Gen. xxxiv. 7. 

2 See the characters of the Dodson sisters in The Mill on the Floss, 
especially Book vii. c. 3, and the analytical discussion of their religion 
in Book iv. c. 1. 

3 The conception of the i Law of Nature ' is traced, partly to Greek 
Stoicism, partly to the empirical rules of personal and international 
morality arising out of intercourse with foreigners. — See Maine's Ancient 
Law, Chap. iii. pp. 52-57. 


pected of Having a hand in its dissolution. The case of Cato 
against the philosophers was essentially the same as that of 
Aristophanes against the sophists : moral habits are, in the 
individual and in the nation, earlier than reason, and ought 
to be stronger, and those who undertake to rest them upon 
reason, and judge them by reason, are exposed to the tempta- 
tion, as well as to the accusation, of forgetting this. It is true 
that they who discussed the foundations of morality were not 
as far from being able to answer the questions they asked 
in the second century before Christ as in the fifth, and so far 
the prejudice against them was less reasonable ; on the other 
hand, they were not only innovators but foreigners, and on 
this ground the prejudice was, if less violent and bitter, deeper 
rooted and more lasting. x-\gricola, and it is evident Tacitus 
himself, adhered to the old Roman maxim, 

' philosophari, sed paucis, nam omnino haud placet,' 

not merely because the active life was held to be higher than 
i the speculative, and it was assumed that too great interest in 
'speculation was inconsistent with activity (an assumption so 
obvious, that it was as old as speculation itself), but because 
it was felt that every Roman, at least of senatorial birth or 
position, had a vocation to the active life, which it was a sin 
to neglect or compromise for the sake of speculation. A 
Greek philosopher was a man to be honoured, but a Roman, 
at least a Roman senator, ought to be something better than 
a philosopher. 

Tacitus shows, to be sure, a certain tolerance towards such 
men as Seneca and Musonius Rums, who, without withdraw- 
ing from active political life, yet threw themselves into philo- 
sophical questions, or adopted philosophical discipline, with a 
zeal which was its own end, and not subordinated to practice. 
Yet he seems to admire Helvidius Priscus, who studied philo- 


sophy to strengthen him for war against the Empire, more 
than Musonius, who found in philosophy a rule for never for- 
feiting self-respect, while living, like Marcellus, with content- 
ment under good Emperors and with resignation under bad ; 
and he judges Seneca by his literary merits and political 
demerits, scarcely taking account of his character as a philo- 
sopher at all. This is the more remarkable, because he 
intimates that neither he nor Agricola felt bound to emulate, 
or approved of emulating, the ' irreconcileable ' attitude of 
Helvidius ; on the contrary, they both must have treated 
Domitian, perhaps not with as much complaisance as Nero 
was treated by Seneca, but with as much deference as he was 
ever treated by Thrasea. The explanation seems to be, that 
Tacitus warmly admired the personal character of Helvidius, 
whom he had probably known in his youth, and that he had 
a certain sympathy, though not an entire approval, for his 
political attitude. So far as we can infer anything more 
general than this, it will be that he approved of men studying 
philosophy (and the Stoical philosophy was now the only one 
very seriously studied), as a means for the regulation of life, 
but not of their throwing themselves into the study as though 
it were the end of life to be regulated by philosophy. 

Such at least might be Tacitus' deliberate opinion ; his moral 
instinct was rather to confess that Stoicism was a very good 
thing so long as he was not expected to be a Stoic. The 
measure of his agreement with Stoical morality may be illus- 
trated by what we see in our own days to be the relation of 
men of honour and intellect to the Catholic. For most prac- 
tical purposes, his view of right and wrong was the same as 
would be taken by a Stoic, but he felt that the moral ideal 
proposed by Stoicism as the highest, was one that he could • 
not admire, or at least would be sorry to see realised ; and so 
far as that ideal was actually approached, the moral gains that 


he sympathised with seemed to be alloyed with dogmatism 
and formalism, which he felt hampered by or despised. Only, 
because Stoicism had never been dominant or officially re- 
cognised like Catholicism, the feeling of freethinkers towards 
it had not the bitterness of a revolt ; Stoicism was one, per- 
haps the noblest, of the various forms of creed which the mind 
would contemplate without holding, and of the various systems 
which the thinker might 'let his consciousness play around' 
without caring to reform. 

Ethical speculation, indeed, was not the direction in which 
Tacitus' mind was most active. ' Although, or perhaps because, 
his faith in moral obligation was strong, he was comparatively 
indifferent to its intellectual basis ; he valued virtue, honour, 
and sobriety, whether they proceeded from the tradition that 
noblesse oblige, from the precept of ' life according to nature/ or 
from the sentiment of reluctance to do hurt, especially to a 
countryman and an equal. Although with him, as doubtless 
with all men of his age and nation, morality was felt to be of 
far more importance than religion, his mind was far more 
actively engaged on religious questions than on ethical. He 
had no definite creed ; he was scarcely a ' seeker after God ;' 
but he was far from being irreligious, indifferent, or sceptical, 
so far as scepticism is the name of a moral temper, and does 
not stand merely for the absence of belief in a definite system 
of supposed certain truth. He believed in the existence of the 
gods — doubt on this subject seems never to occur to him as 
conceivable, or at least excusable ; on the other hand, the 
question of providence, and those associated with it — human 
free-will and unalterable fate, and the possibility of learning 
the latter through omens or astrology, — are treated as questions 
doubtful, important, perhaps insoluble, but at all events worthy 
of the greatest attention. It is interesting to observe that 
these questions arise to his mind more frequently, and perhaps 


are regarded more hopefully, in his later works than in his 
earlier ; but his theological sentiments, like his political, are- 
best left in his own words, and not formulated more distinctly 
than he himself has done. 

It is of course by no means a characteristic of Tacitus 
individually, but a universal one of all ancient thought, that 
while he regards the truths of the divine nature and operations 
as a matter on which (within certain limits) speculation is free, 
religious worship is viewed as altogether a matter for state 
regulation. But the fact that he accepts this principle con- 
tentedly and without discussion, is not without influence on our 
judgment of his moral and intellectual character, when we 
remember that he lived in the age when, for the first time in 
Europe, religion was being set on a wider than national basis. 
Among the reasons why he did not give a more thorough 
adhesion to Stoicism, one no doubt was, that he disliked it as 
cosmopolitan ; the reason why he disapproved of Christianity 
was substantially the same, though that is hardly the way in 
which he would have expressed his disapproval. 

For the assumption can hardly be justified, that Tacitus' 
hostility to the new religion arose from ignorance of everything 
in it beyond the name. In all likelihood, he never had such 
an acquaintance with its doctrines and practices as Pliny only 
gained when it came under his cognisance judicially ; still, it 
is scarcely possible that he can have failed to have his atten- 
tion called to it by the persecution of Domitian. 1 So far 
as we can guess, he must have approved of that measure, 
though he evidently thought that of Nero barbarous. If 

1 That Domitian did persecute the Christians (perhaps not sparing Jews 
not of Jewish birth, and other Oriental sectaries) is now generally admitted. 
It is the natural inference from the language of Dio (lxvii. 14), besides 
being expressly stated in remarkably moderate terms by Tertullian (Apol, 
c 7). 


Flavius Clemens 1 refused to perform the religious ceremonies 
which fell to his lot as consul, he really committed a serious 
crime on Roman principles, or on any except his own ; it 
scarcely needed a fanatical zeal like Domitian's for the honour 
of Juppiter Capitolinus, who had saved both their lives in the 
Civil War, to think that he was justly punished with death, 
and his wife, and other adherents of so disloyal a sect, with 
banishment. This is not unlikely to have been Tacitus' view ; 
it is certainly remarkable that in the Agricola he nowhere 
mentions Clemens among the victims of Domitian's cruelty, 
though in a sense he was the most illustrious of them. 2 

1 Dio does not distinguish between Judaism and Christianity in his 
account of the persecution ; he couples together the charges of 'lovdaitcbs 
/S/os, ddedTrjs, and avtfieia, as if they were the same thing in Domitian^s 
eyes. Juv. xiv. 96 sqq. shows that Judaism did still make converts at 
Rome ; but it would have been strange for a Flavius to be among them, 
and the traditional view, that Clemens was a Christian, appears to be con- 
firmed by nearly contemporary inscriptions. Canon Lightfoot conjectures 
that the now more famous St. Clement the Bishop was a freedman of this 
St. Clement the Martyr ; but this seems a strange way of accounting for his 
bearing the same cognomen. We should think it very strange if, a genera- 
tion earlier, any of ' the saints of Caesar's household ' had been called Caesar, 
or even Nero or Drusus. Clemens is a slave's name in Ann. ii. 39, sq. Dr. 
Lightfoot himself quotes an inscription showing that it was borne by a Jewish 
slave, such as St. Clement had probably been ; when emancipated, his old 
slave's name would serve for a cognomen (Pers. v. 79). The fact is, the name 
was very common among all classes, and we cannot (without such evidence 
as iv. 68. 3 gives us) presume a relationship between those who bore it. 
If we do hazard a guess who St. Clement of Rome was, he is as likely as 
anything to have been a son of St. Paul's fellow-labourer, St. Clement of 
Philippi, with whom uncritical tradition identifies him. On the other 
hand, T. Flavius Clemens, Bishop of Alexandria, about a century later, 
may have been descended from the martyr himself, but far more probably 
from some one to whom Vespasian had granted citizenship while in the 
East : Flavius in Palestine and Egypt was a name no more distinctive than 
Julius or Claudius in Gaul. koX irepl fih toijtwv Toaavra 7]fuv dirovai, kcu 
irapa tGjv iirKncdirwv ical iraph r&v fiapHpwv e^fieveirj etfj. 

2 His two sons were adopted, or at least openly acknowledged as his 
heirs, by the Emperor ; Clemens himself was probably older than his 
cousin, and so not to be expected to survive him. Of course, in the lost 


Suetonius thought Clemens' character contemptible ; Tacitus 
probably, from a political point of view, thought it worse ; and 
pronounces the religion which made him what he was a deadly 
superstition, hideous or shameful, which nothing but the 
depravity of modern Rome saved from sharing in the fall of its 
parent state. 

Certain as it is that Tacitus rejected Christianity, whether 
more or less deliberately, the question has some interest 
whether his adherence to the historical religion and ceremonial 
of Rome was hearty or indifferent. That it should be hearty 
is not as impossible as is generally imagined. Cicero's famous 
saying about the two augurs, coupled with the fact that he was 
an augur himself, makes us think that the whole of Roman 
paganism was, so far as it affected educated people, a system 
of organised hypocrisy, kept up for the restraint of the vulgar. 
But in the first place, we can hardly take Cicero's sceptical 
arguments in the De Divinatione as an expression of fixed dis- 
belief on his own part ; they do show, no doubt, that he saw 
divination to be the ridiculous side of the traditional religion • 
but it appears from the same work, that he did not fear to 
make his brother ridiculous by representing him as a believer 
even in divination. And further, Cicero and Tacitus were 
after all not contemporaries ; it is no more self-evident that 
the feelings of educated men were the same in the days of the 
latter as of the former, than it would be safe to assume that the 
opinions of Talleyrand are held by the present Bishop of Autun. 
The augurs of Cicero's time knew that their art was chiefly 
used to furnish pretexts for cancelling elections or interrupting 
resolutions that were inconvenient to the party in power ; but, ex 
quo suffragia nullt vendinius, believers in augury, even if augurs 

Books of the Histories there must have been a record of his death, but 
the absence of allusion elsewhere seems to show that Tacitus regarded it 
without interest or horror. 


themselves, may have had their faith less severely tried. If we 
look to the evidence we have as to the state of religion among 
Tacitus' contemporaries, we may see signs of a reaction from un- 
belief, as well as from superstition, that moved men of any religious 
feeling to rally round the national gods and legitimate cere- 
monies, as the best hope of truth and the best safeguard of 
purity ; Domitian himself was not only sincere but fanatical 
in his reverence for them ; his personal vices are no more 
evidence to the contrary than those of Philip n. of Spain, or 
James n. of England. 1 Now, though Domitian was neither a 
respected nor a popular sovereign, he was by no means a 
contemptible one ; those who wished to despise him were 
reduced to such poor tricks as raking up and modernising old 
stories of the follies of Gaius and Vitellius. It is scarcely 
likely, therefore, that his influence counted for nothing, when 
he threw himself with enthusiastic devotion into a cause that 
few could think a bad one. Humane gentlemen like Pliny 
were shocked at the execution of the Vestals ; they professed 
to doubt their guilt, and plainly thought it, even if real, much 
less atrocious than their punishment. But it is hard to deny 
that Domitian was in this matter the representative of the best 
Roman feeling, or to see how conservative moralists like Tacitus 
could disapprove of his policy. A good many people, who them- 
selves, if they ever worshipped anybody, worshipped Isis, and 
if they ever practised any moral virtue, did not practise 
chastity, nevertheless expected some harm to come to Rome 
and to themselves from the Dacians, or Germans, or some- 
body, if the Vestals were not virgins, or if the worship of the 
gods of Rome were not kept up in the ancient Roman manner. 
Now this class, if not very respectable, was so large as to be 

1 Scarcely less ; for his vices were as much opposed to the spirit 01 the 
Roman religion as theirs of the Christian, though the moral precepts of the 
former were not as clearly enunciated as the Decalogue. 


important ; it was a real loss to public virtue, if it should let 
go the few moral and religious conceptions that it still main- 
tained. To confess this is not quite the same thing as to pro- 
pose to deceive the many for their good ; the less so, as those 
who sat loose enough to the popular religion to speculate on 
its usefulness, had by no means a formed disbelief in its truth. 
Any member of Tacitus' circle would probably have felt as 
uneasy at a p-odzgium non publice procuratum as it is said that 
Voltaire's disciples did, if one found himself at a dinner-party 
of thirteen ; and the Roman was not in the least ashamed of 
himself for the superstition, as the Frenchman perhaps would 
be. Tacitus himself was plainly shocked, and expects his 
readers to be so, at Vitellius' ignorance and carelessness in 
doing pontifical business on the anniversary of the Allia. 
Men who felt dissatisfied with the popular religion as a 
standard of truth and goodness, nevertheless respected it on 
account of its untraceable origin, which it was as impossible 
to disprove as to prove to be really divine. Philosophers 
might follow Socrates in refusing to believe stories or approve 
practices contrary to natural morality ; practical men might, 
still oftener, take note that popular beliefs were seldom per- 
fectly verified by facts ; but both classes, when brought face to 
face with the religion they criticised, would have confessed 
that ' there might be something in it.' Tacitus may have 
handled and studied the third edition of the Sibylline Books 
with as good faith and sincere reverence as Crito offered the 
testamental cock to Aesculapius. 

To this extent it may be said that Tacitus' mind reveal 
itself in his works. Of his personal character, his moral and 
social habits, we must be content to know much less. The 
Agricola gives us an impression, which can hardly be mislead- 
ing, that the author was a man of strong and tender affections ; 
it leaves us ready to believe, though, of course, no book can 


prove, that he was kindly and upright in the relations which 
he valued so highly — a man such as he describes Helvidius 
Priscus, civis, senator, maritus, gener, amicus, cunctis vitae 
qfficiis aeqitabilis. The way that Pliny speaks of him and to 
him likewise suggests that he was a good and amiable man : 
and it is something, that all the evidence we have as to his 
character should be favourable, even when the evidence is 
mainly his own, and that of a friend given to effusive compli- 
ments. But this evidence is supported by the whole spirit of 
his writings — not less in what he does not say than in what he 
does. A man with any capacity for generous feeling might 
assume the tender and affectionate tone of the Agricola, but 
no one could keep up to the moral elevation and purity of the 
historical works, unless it were genuine and native to him. 
With regard to the vices of his time, and the worse times 
before him, his language and his reticence are alike manly 
and honourable. In the Histories, at least the extant portion, 
there is not a sentence that offends against modern delicacy, 
not to say natural decency ; and the whole range of contem- 
porary literature (with one or two exceptions, notably Quinti- 
lian, but not excepting even such amiable and respectable 
men as Pliny and Statius) shows that this was a characteristic 
of the individual, not of the age. 1 

In regard to the * minor morals ' arid social habits of the 
man, there is a little evidence which, if admitted, has rather 
an unfavourable tendency. The words of Tacitus referred to 
by Pliny (Ej>. viii. 7. 1), and already quoted {Life, etc., p. xii.), 

1 Dr. Merivale [Hist, of the Romans under the Empire, c. 64) suspects 
Tacitus of writing light or immoral verses, because the grammarian 
Fulgentius quotes ' Cornelius Tacitus in libro facetiarum. 1 But the 
passage quoted is very harmless prose (about a son being the epitaph of 
his father's virtues), and Ritter is doubtless right in supposing that the 
quotation means, not that Tacitus wrote or compiled a iest-book, but that 
a saying of his was inserted in one. 



have the mark of a genuine though rather formal modesty and 
courtesy ; but there is one among Pliny's letters which there 
are some grounds for suspecting to be written by him, and 
which shares in no small degree Pliny's characteristic fault of 
literary vanity and self-consciousness. 

Among the Epistles with the superscription Plinius Tacito 
are two, in widely different parts of the collection, which, if 
read in connection with each other, must strike every reader 
as being presumably by different authors — the second being 
written in answer to the first. 

In Book i. Ep. 6, the writer tells how he made believe to 
be hunting, and actually achieved spearing three boars, while 
in the intervals he found opportunity to sit down and make 
notes for literary work — a notion which he expects his corre- 
spondent to find comical or incredible, but which he propounds' 
for his serious consideration and imitation, as combining the 
service of Minerva and Diana. In the supposed reply, 
Book ix. Ep. 10, the writer says that boars are scarce about 
him, and Minerva's service has difficulties enough of its own ; 
in short, he writes as if he felt the foolishness of affectation 
like his friend's, and declined to have anything to do with it. 
Now, if we do admit the second letter to be an answer to the 
first, we might be content to suppose that Pliny acted like a 
prig, and wrote about it like a prig, and that Tacitus snubbed 
him as far as friendship and courtesy would allow ; but, unfor- 
tunately, the second letter is addressed to the author of the 
Dialogue ascribed to Tacitus. It contains the sentence, Itaque 
poemata quiescunt, quae tu inter nemora et lucos commodiosime 
perfici putas — a manifest reference to Tacitus, Dial 9. 6, poetis, 
si modo dignum aliquid elaborare et efficere velint, . . . . ut ipsi 
dicunt, in nemora et lucos, id est, in solitudinem recedendum est. 
Now, Pliny cannot have been the author of the Dialogue, for he 
was barely fourteen, not therefore juvenis, when it is supposed 


to have taken place ; while there is no reason whatever for set- 
ting aside the ms. evidence that Tacitus was the author, except 
the unlikeness of style to his later works, which itself is 
neutralised by subtle underlying resemblances. But we can- 
not doubt, from the place of the letters in Pliny's collection, 
that he is one party to the correspondence — scarcely, that 
Tacitus is the other \ it therefore follows, that Tacitus' title to 
the authorship of the Dialogue is confirmed, but burdened with 
a title to the authorship of the literary boar-hunt. It may be 
added, that Tacitus, being the older of the two, had better 
reason for the apprehension, with which the letter opens, that 
his friend would laugh at the idea of his turning huntsman. 

Nearly every editor of Pliny or of Tacitus has formed a 
different opinion as to the explanation of the phenomena of 
these two letters. For the reasons above stated, I confess 
that I come reluctantly to the conclusion, that Tacitus must 
bear the blame of having written the priggish one. If so, the 
only excuse to be advanced for him is, that in letter-writing 
you must adapt your tone to the character and humour of 
your correspondent. 

Passages illustrative of Tacitus*' Political Opinions. 

Agr. 2. 2. I. — Scilicet illo igne (which burnt the books of Rusticus 
and Senecio) vocem populi Romani, et libertatem Sena- 
tus, et conscientiam generis humani aboleri arbitra- 

lb. 2. 3, 3. 1. — Dedimus profecto grande patientiae documen- 
tum : et sicut vetus aetas vidit quid ultimuminlibertate 
esset, ita nos, quid in servitute, adempto per inquisi- 
tiones et loquendi audiendique commercio. . . . Nunc 
demum redit animus : et quamquam primo statim 
beatissimi saeculi ortu Nerva Caesar res olim dissocia-. 
biles miscuerit, principatum ac libertatem, augeatque 
quotidie felicitatem teinporum Nerva Trajanus, nee 


spem modo ac votum securitas pnblica sed ipsius voti 
fiduciam ac robur adsumserit, natura tamen etc. 

Agr. 42. 5. — Sciant, quibus moris est inlicita mirari, posse 
etiam sub malis principibus magnos viros esse, obse- 
quiumque ac modestiam, si industria ac vigor adsint, eo 
laudis escendere, quo plerique per abrupta, sed in 
nullum reipublicae usum, ambitiosa morte inclaruerunt. 

Hist, i. 1. 2. — Postquam bellatum apud Actium atque omnem 
potentiam ad unum conferri pacis intermit, magna ilia 
ingenia cessere ; simul Veritas pluribus modis infracta, 
primum inscitia rei publicae [ut alienae, mox libidine 
adsentandi aut rursus odio adversus dominantes. 

lb. i. 1. $fin. — Imperium Trajani, . . . rara temporum felici- 
tate, ubi sentire quae velis, et quae sentias dicere licet. 

lb. i. 16. 1-4. — Si inmensum imperii corpus stare ac librari sine 
rectore posset, dignus eram a quo res publica inciperet : 
nunc eo necessitatis jam pridem ventum est, ut nee 
mea senectus conferre plus populo Romano possit quam 
bonum successorem, nee tua plus juventa quam bonum 
principem. Sub Tiberio et Gaio et Claudio unius 
familiae quasi hereditas fuimus : loco libertatis erit 
quod eligi coepimus. Et finita Juliorum Claudiorum- 
que domo, optimum quemque adoptio inveniet. Nam 
generari et nasci a principibus fortuitum, nee ultra 
aestimatur : adoptandi judicium integrum ; et si velis 
eligere, consensit monstratur. 

lb. ii. 37 sq.\ note especially 38. 3, 4.— Modo turbulenti 
tribuni, modo consules praevalidi, et in urbe ac foro 
tentamenta civilium bellorum ; mox e plebe infima 
C. Marius et nobilium saevissimus, L. SulJa victam armis 
libertatem in dominationem verterunt. Post quos Cn. 
Pompeius occultior, non melior. Et numquam postea 
nisi de principatu quaesitum. 

lb. iv. 8. 3. — Se meminisse temporum, quibus natus sit, quam 
civitatis formam patres avique instituerint ; ulteriora 
mirari, praesentia sequi : bonos Imperatores voto expe- 
tere, qualescunque tolerare. (Read the whole chapter.) 


Ann. i. I. 2 give a sketch of the establishment of the Empire, and the 
latter c. a brief estimate of its advantages. 

lb. iii. 27 sq. — Read the whole passage; notice especially 27. 2 — - 
28. 3. Secutae leges etsi aliquando in maleficos ex 
delicto, saepius tamen dissensione ordinum et apis- 
cendi inlicitos honores, aut pellendi claros viros, aliaque 
ob prava, per vim latae sunt. Hinc Gracchi et Satur- 
nini turbatores plebis, nee minor largitor nomine 
senatus Drusus ; corrupti spe, aut inlusi per interces- 
sionem socii. Ac ne bello quidem Italico, mox civili, 
omissum quin multa et diversa sciscerentur, donee L. 
Sulla dictator, abolitis vel conversis prioribus, cum 
plura addidisset, otium ejus rei haud in longum paravit, 
statim turbidis Lepidi rogationibus, neque multo post 
tribunis reddita licentia quoquo vellent populum agi- 
tandi. . . . Turn Cn. Pompeius tertium consul, corri- 
gendis moribus delectus, sed gravior remediis quam 
delicta erant, suarumque legum auctor idem ac sub- 
versor, quae armis tuebatur, armis amisit. . . . Sexto 
demum consulatu Caesar Augustus, potentiae securus, 
quae triumviratu jusserat abolevit, deditque jura, quis 
pace et principe uteremur. 

lb. iv. 3. 4. — Atque ilia, cui avunculus Augustus, socer 
Tiberius, ex Druso liberi, seque ac majores et posteros 
mimiapali adultero foedabat ; — curious for the moral thought 
as well as the political. 

lb. iv. 20. 4, 5. — Hunc ego Lepidum temporibus illis gravem 
et sapientem virum fuisse comperior : nam pleraque 
ab saevis adulationibus aliorum in melius flexit. Neque 
tamen temperament! egebat, cum aequabili auctoritate 
et gratia apud Tiberium viguerit. . . . Liceatque inter 
abruptam contumaciam et deforme obsequium pergere 
iter ambitione ac periculis vacuum. 

lb. iv. 33. — The whole chapter is instructive; so is the remark in the 
previous one, that Tiberius was proferendi imperii incuriosus, 
unlike Trajan. This confirms what is said above, that the bitter 
satire on the past contained in the Annals, implies no bitterness 
against the time the author lived in. In c. 33 notice especially. 


§.§ I; 2 . — Nam cunctas nationes et urbes populus aut primores 
aut singuli regunt ; delecta ex iis et consociata reipublicae 
forma (Polyb. lib. vi., Cic. de Rep.), laudari facilius quam 
evenire, vel si evenit, haud diuturna esse potest. Igitur 
ut olim plebe valida, vel cum patres pollerent, noscenda 
vulgi natura et quibus modis temperanter haberetur, 
senatusque et optimatium ingenia qui maxime per- 
didicerant, callidi temporum et sapientes credebantur 
(is he thinking of Plat. Rep. vi. 7, p. 493 A, B ?), SIC COnverSO 
statu, neque alia re Romana quam si unus imperitet, 
haec conquiri tradique in rem fuerit. 

Ann. vi. 10. 3-5. — Per idem tempus L. Piso pontifex, rarum in 
tanta claritudine, fato obiit, nullius servilis sententiae 
sponte auctor, et quotiens necessitas ingrueret (cf. 
Thrasea in Ann. xiv. 12. 2, 48. 5), sapienter moderans. 
Patrem ei censorium fuisse memoravi ; aetas ad octo- 
gensimum annum processit ; decus Jxiumphale in 
Thraecia meruerat. Sed praecipua ex eo gloria, quod 
praefectus urbi recens continuam potestatem et in- 
solentia parendi graviorem mire temperavit. (Compare 
iv. 20, and Agr. 42, already cited.) 

lb. xiv. 47. i, 2. — Eo anno mortem obiit Memmius Regulus, 
auctoritate, constantia, fama, in quantum praeumbrante 
imperatoris fastigio datur, clarus ; adeo ut Nero, aeger 
valetudine, et adulantibus circum qui tlnem imperio 
adesse dicebant, si quid fato pateretur, respondent, 
4 habere subsidium rempublicam ;' rogantibus dehinc 
4 in quo potissimum,' addiderat ' in Memmio Regulo. 7 
Vixit tamen post haec Regulus, quiete defensus, et quia 
nova generis claritudine neque invidiosis opibus erat. 

lb. xvi. 16.— The chapter should be compared with iv. 33, already quoted, 
and the two with the introduction to the Agricola. 

Passages illustrative of Tacitus' opinions on Ethics, Religion, 
Philosophy, and Astrology. 

Dial. xii. 4, 5. — Nee ullis aut gloria major aut augustior honoi 
[quam poetis et vatibus], primum apud deos, quorum 
tac. e 


proferre responsa et interesse epulis ferebantur, deinde 
apud illos diis genitos sacrosque reges, inter quos ne- 
minem causidicum, sed Orphea et Linum ac si intro- 
spicere altius velis ipsum Apollinem accepimus. Vel si 
haec fabulosa nimis et composita videntur, illud certe 
mihi concedis, etc. 

Agr. 4. 3-5. — Arcebat eum ab illecebris peccantium, praeter 
ipsius bonam integramque naturarn, quod statim par- 
vulus sedem ac magistram studiorum Massiliam habuit, 
locum Graeca comitate et provinciali comitate mistum 
ac bene compositum. Memoria teneo, solitum ipsum 
narrare se prima in juventa studium philosophiae acrius, 
ultra quam concessum Romano et senatori, hausisse 
. . . Mox mitigavit ratio et aetas, retinuitque, quod 
est difficillimum, ex sapientia modum, 

lb, 46. 1. — Si quis piorum manibus locus, si, ut sapientibus 
placet, iron cum corpore extinguuntur magnae animae, 
placide quiescas [note that this is conceived now as implying 
consciousness of rest and peace ; contrast Lucr. iii. 910, adsomnum 
sires redit alque quittem, i.e. annihilation], nosque domum tuam 
ab infirmo desiderio et muliebribus lamentis ad con- 
templationem virtutum tuarum voces, quas neque lugeri 
neque plangi fas est. 

Germ. $$. 1. — Chamavos et Angrivarios inmigrasse narratur, 
pulsis Bructeris ac penitus excisis, vicinarum consensu 
nationum ; seu superbiae odio seu praedae dulcedine 
seu favore quodam erga nos deorum ; nam ne spec- 
taculo quid em praelii invidere. 

Before any one calls this sentiment, and that of the rest of the chapter, 
impious and inhuman, let him compare 2 Chron. xx. 17-25 ; if, 
after study of the two passages, he continues to apply the same 
epithets to Tacitus, he has a right to his opinion. 

lb. 39. 4.— Ibi regnator omnium deus (of the local religion of the Sem- 
nones). The only passage where Tacitus uses deus in a monotheistic 
sense ; in his account of Jewish monotheism {Hist. v. 5. 6), he uses 
trie vaguer word numen i apparently thinking, like Strabo, that such 
spiritual theism verges on pantheism, — some called it atheism. 
Cf. Germ. 9. 2>fi n * 


Ilist. i. 3. 3. — Nee enim umquam atrocioribus populi Romani 
cladibus magisve justis indiciis adprobatum est, non 
esse curae deis securitatem nostram, esse ultionem. 

lb. i. 18. 2. — Observatum id [sc. foedum imbribus diem, etc.] 
antiquitus comitiis dirimendis non terruit Gaibam quo 
minus in castra pergeret, contemptorem talium ut 
fortuitorum, seu quae fato manent, quamvis significata, 
non vitantur. 
Cf. iii. 56. I ; Ann. xii. 43. I ; 64. 1-3 ; xiv. 12. 3 ; xv. 4. 7, for omens 
more or less seriously regarded. Tacitus seems, on the whole, to 
have less faith in omens than in Astrology. In Ann. xiv. 12. 5, 
he writes as if the omens ought to have come true, but did not. 

lb. 11. 38. 5* — Deum ira coupled with hominum rabies, scelerum causae, as 
urging on the civil war. 

lb. ii. 50. 3. — Ut conquirere fabulosa, et fictis oblectare lege 11- 
tium animos procul gravitate coeptae operis crediderim, 
ita volgatis traditisque demere fidem non ausim. 

lb. ii. 91. 1, 2.^Apud civitatem cuncta interpretantent, funesti 
ominis loco acceptum est, quod Maximum Pontificatum 
adeptus Vitellius de caeremoniis publicis xv. kal. Aug. 
edixisset, antiquitus infausto die Cremerensi Alliensique : 
cladibus; adeo omnis humani divinique juris expers . . . 
agebat. Sed comitia consilium, etc. 

lb. \V. 81. — The miracles of Vespasian. Tacitus does not make himself 
responsible for the sentiments ascribed either to Vespasian, or to 
the surgeons consulted by him ; but he seems to believe in the 
facts, and to incline (though half ashamed of the inclination) to 
admit their supernatural character. 

lb, Fr. 1. — Alii et Titus ipse evertendum tern plum in primis 
censebant, quo plenius Judaeorum et Christianorum 
religio tolleretur. Quippe has religion es, licet con- 
trarias sibi, isdem tamen auctoribus profectas ; Chris- 
tianos ex Judaeis extitisse ; radice sublata stirpem facile 

Ann* i. 3. 3, ii. 7 T » 2 > oppose natural death {fato) to death by treachery. 
The use of the mere word in the former passage (cf. vi. 10. 3, 
already quoted) is scarcely significant ; the second passage is ; 
but it should be remembered that the sentiment is dramatic, not 
Tacitus' own : — 


Si fato concederem, Justus mihi dolor etjam adversus deos 
esset, quod me parentibus, liberis, patriae, intra juven- 
tam praematuro exitu raperent. Nunc scelere Pisonis 
et Plancinae interceptus, etc. 
Nipperdey also refers to ii. 73* 2, 3. 

A Jin. IV. I. 3. — (Sejanus gained his influence over Tiberius) non 
tarn sollertia . . . quam deum ira in rem Romanam, 
cujus pari exitio viguit ceciditque. [Cf. xvi. 16. 3, Ira 
ilia numinum in res Romanas fuit] 

lb. IV. 20. 5»~ — (Already partly quoted for another purpose.) Unde 
dubitare cogor, fato et sorte nascendi, ut cetera, ita 
principum inclinatio in hos, offensio in illos, an sit 
aliquid in nostris consiliis, liceatque inter abruptam 
contumaciam et deforme obsequium pergere iter ambi- 
tione et periculis vacuum. 

lb. iv. 58. 3, 4. — Mox patuit breve confinium artis et falsi, 
veraque quam obscuris tegerentur. Nam in Urbem 
non regressurum (Tiberium) haud forte dictum; ceter- 
orum nescii egere (periti caelestium), cum propinquo 
rure aut litore et saepe moenia Urbis adsidens extre- 
mam senectam compleverit. 

The stars give as real oracles to Tiberius (or rather, in this case, to his 
ill-wishers), as Apollo gave to Croesus, or the witches to Macbeth* 

lb. vi . 2 1 sq. — Read the whole passage. It suggests that Tacitus was 
much more attracted towards belief in astrological fatalism than 
to the doctrine of philosophical necessity, which he here dis- 
tinguishes from it ; also, that he felt it necessary, in the interests 
of morality, to except the freedom of the human will from the 
operation of either. 

lb. xii. 43. — Men tempt Providence when they are improvident themselves 
—a reasonable sentiment enough. But note in § 3, ' magnaque 
deum benig7iitate> et modestia hiemis, extremis rebus sub- 
ventum' — which implies that men are dependent on the gods for 
safe navigation, but not for the productiveness of their own lands. 
Compare the sentiments of the Egyptians and of Herodotus (ii. 13 
sq.), on the comparative trustworthiness of the Greek and Egyptian 
providences ; also the doctrine of Dogberry, that ' to have a good 


name is the gift of God, but to write and read comes by nature,' 
and that ascribed to Satan Montgomery, that 'God made the 
thunder, but the lightning made itself.' It is really not useless to 
take extreme instances that caricature the arbitrariness of popular 
thought in its canons for distinguishing the natural and the pro 

An?i. xiv. 5. 1. — Noctem sideribus inlustrem et placido mari 
quietam quasi convincendum ad scelus di praebuere. 

Here, on the contrary, the gods are conceived as moral governors 
as well as rulers of nature. So Hist. iii. 72. 1, propitiis, si per 
mores nostros liceret, deis (see note). 

lb. xv. 44. 4. — Repressaque in praesens [Chris tianorum] exitia- 
bilis superstitio rursum erumpebat, non modo per 
Judaeam, originem ejus mali, sed per Urbem etiam, 
quo cuncta undique atrocia aut pudenda confluunt 

lb. xvi. 13. 1. — Tot facinoribus foedum annum etiam di tem- 
pestatibus et morbis insignivere. (Compare what was said 

on xiv. 5- !•) 

lb. xvi. S3- I ' — Q u0 obsequio florentem Soranum celebraverat, 
labentem non deseruit, exutusque omnibus fortunis 
et in exilium actus, aequitate deum erga bona malaque 

The most sceptical of Tacitus' expressions on the subject. We 
should remember that it is mere accident that for us it is his last. 

Passages where Tacitus refers to special Authorities used 
by him. 

Hist. iii. 25. 3 (Messala) ; 28. 1 (Messala, Pliny). An?i. i. 
69. 3 (Pliny); 81. 1 ('auctores 1 and speeches of Tiberius); 
iii. 3. 2 ('auctores' and acta diurna) ; iv. 11. 4 (the confes- 
sions, no doubt officially recorded, of the murderers of Drusus ; 
the silence of authors hostile to Tiberius is noted); 53. 3 
(memoirs of Agrippina) ; vi. 7 (only speaks of the silence of 


plerique scriptores) ; xii. 24. 4 (puM'cis actis perscriptuni) , 
xiii. 2. 3 (Fabius Rusticus, Pliny, Cluvius Rufus) ; xiv. 2. 1, 3, 
4 (Fabius, Cluvius) ; 19 (M. Servilius is said to have been a 
historian, but is not quoted) ; xv. 16. 1 (Corbulo) ; 53. 4 
(Pliny) ; 61. 6 (Fabius); 74. 3 (journals of the Senate). 


We have above drawn a distinction between Tacitus' char- 
acter as a philosophical historian and as a literary artist ; there 
is less fear of dispute as to his merits in the latter character 
than in the former, and less question where they are shown in 
the highest perfection. It may be doubted whether Tacitus, 
as he grew older, grew a more candid historian or a more 
judicious political thinker : but it is not doubtful that he grew 
a greater writer. The dramatic liveliness of the Dialogue 
makes it in some ways the pleasantest reading of any of his 
works, as it is the smoothest, and, apart from corruptions of 
the text, the easiest. He never surpassed, in eloquence and 
pathos, the opening and closing chapters of the Agricola ; the 
Germany is unequalled, in all ancient literature, for the pure 
scientific spirit ; and some may think the Histories superior to 
the Annals for candid and natural pictures of characters and 
events. But scarcely any one will deny that the Annals is, on 
the whole, his greatest work. 1 Although the eccentricity and 

1 Whether it was, as it appears to us, his longest work, is a very difficult 
question. Our only evidence as to the respective length of the Annals 
and Histories is a saying of St. Jerome's (Comm. in Zach. iii. 14), 
Cornelius quoque (besides Josephus) Tacitus, qui post Augustum usque ad 
viortem Dojnitiani Vitas Caesarum triginta voluminibus exaravit. If we 
admit St. Jerome's accuracy in this passage, it will follow that in the 
editions of his time, as in our second Medicean MS. — which, itself of the 
eleventh century represents a recension of the fourth — the Annals aiw* 


mannerism of style, absent from his earliest work, grows more 
and more marked in each of his later, yet there is an increase 
of literary power more than proportionate to the diminution 
of literary spotlessness. In truth, we scarcely feel a marked 
individual mannerism to be a blemish, when it is the protest 
of a strong mind against the conventional fashions fixed by 
inferior ones ; we feel that Tacitus first learns, and proves that 
he has learnt, to write as correct Ciceronian Latin as if he 
were fit for nothing but a rhetorician of the Ciceronian school, 
and that he thereby makes good his own claim to go his own 
way, despising the rules of art which hamper him, not neglect- 
ing them while needing their guidance. 

The detailed consideration of the literary character of the 
Dialogue scarcely belongs to our present subject, but to the 
interesting though not very popular 1 study of the art of rhetoric 

Histories were arranged as a continuous whole, and contained thirty books 
between them. It is therefore generally assumed that the Annals con- 
tained sixteen, the Histories fourteen. But Ritter very plausibly argues, 
that the last year and a half of Nero's reign, and the six months after his 
death, were too eventful to be comprised in half a book ; so he concludes 
that the Annals contained eighteen, and the Histories only twelve ; the 
latter being, he calculates, enough for the period contained in them, on 
the same scale of treatment as in the Annals. But twelve or even four- 
teen books are not enough for the period, on the same scale _of treatment as 
the extant part of the Histories, allow as much as we will for the excep- 
tionally eventful character of the first ' long year.' I venture to conjecture, 
that St. Jerome referred to the Histories only, which contained thirty 
books, but that by carelessness or lapse of memory he introduced an 
irrelevant reference to the whole period treated by Tacitus. It may be 
held to support this theory, that his younger contemporary Orosius, while 
making frequent use of the Histories, especially of the now lost portions, 
seems to know nothing of the Annals ; St. Jerome, on this view, knew 
of their existence, but had not a copy by him. It is certain that he is 
inaccurate in the title of the work he cites, whether it were more or less 

1 The only approach I know to an attempt to popularise it, is in Mr. A. 
W. Potts' Hints towards Latin Prose Composition, Part IV., * On the Period 
in Latin Prose.' 


among the Romans. It is suggested, that the two professed 
rhetoricians there introduced, Secundus and Aper (Messala, 
though a speaker, is also something more), are meant as 
representatives of two rival schools of style ; Secundus, of 
whom enemies said, non prompium esse sermonem, and friends 
that purus et pressus et, in qua?itum satis erat, profluens sermo 
non deficit, will represent the periodic style, of which Cicero 
was the great example ; Aper, whom the world judged ingenio 
potius et vi naturae quam institutione et Uteris famam eloquentiae 
consecutum, but who, as his admiring disciple thought, omni 
eruditione imbutus, contemnebat potius literas quam nesciebat 
(2. 1 fin. 2), will represent the detached, sententious, or 
incisive style of the Silver Age. The imitation of Cicero, 
preached by Quintilian and practised by Pliny, was not 
dominant nor perhaps altogether popular in the last quarter 
of the first century a.d. A style which some might call more 
vigorous, and others less correct, had come into use, and had 
in its favour at least the advantage of novelty ; even apart 
from this, it had the qualities that gain applause, and serve to 
electrify the groundlings. Quintilian felt the distinction between 
che old school and the new to be one between true and false 
art ; Tacitus, on the contrary, thinks either form of art legiti- 
mate, and inquires only how it is that the works of art are not 
by any method brought up to the old standard of excellence. 
For the present, he appears in the conservative or Ciceronian 
camp. The Dialogue is, in its whole conception, imitated 
from those of Cicero on rhetorical subjects ; as in Cicero, 
the interlocutors make speeches instead of conversing, 
though there are more, or more successful, attempts than in 
Cicero to maintain colloquial ease and dramatic propriety. 

We cannot tell whether the extant Dialogue is a tour deforce 
to show that he also, like Aper, contemnebat potius literas quam 
nesciebat, or whether it is only a single specimen, accidentally 


preserved, of a whole class of the author's early writings. But 
when, after fifteen years' silence, Tacitus begins to write again, 
he has broken completely with the Ciceronian tradition. He 
has not fallen in with the slighter and more careless structure 
of sentence that was becoming common ; he has gone a good 
deal beyond it, and yet holds himself aloof from it. No one 
could call his style careless or slipshod ; it is only on second 
thoughts that one would call it artificial. In a picturesque 
passage, he sometimes is really simple ; he often in his most 
laboured sentences gives the impression that the end he is 
labouring for is simplicity, only he is fastidious about the 
purity of the means by which his simple message is to be 
conveyed. When Tacitus has once chosen his side, and 
determined to risk harshness or obscurity rather than tedious- 
ness or diluted vapidity, he does nothing by halves. Having 
determined in what direction to look for excellence, in that 
direction he goes. Owing to the subject, the Agricola is 
naturally more rhetorical, the Germany more poetical, than 
the bulk of the later works ; but, allowing for this difference, 
we see the desire to be striking at any cost growing steadily 
upon the writer. In the Annals •, where, from the remoteness 
in time of the events described, he was most disposed to look 
at them in a half ideal way, his artificial style is most appro- 
priate, and in consequence is most freely developed ; if we 
say that it is in the Annals that we see Tacitus' literary art at 
its best, it is because there he has room to be most Tacitean. 

It has been said, that the peculiarities of Tacitus' style may 
be all reduced to three — brevitas, varietas, coloi' poeticus. The 
first characteristic is the surest to strike every reader; the last 
is that the sense of which will grow most upon those who read 
observantly and intelligently ; the second (the habit of varying 
constructions in the course of a passage, for the variety's sake) 
seems the least closely bound up with the author's individu- 


ality, and also the least valuable characteristic of the three. 
And these impressions, spontaneously arising, may be justified 
deductively. Tacitus is brief, because it is his nature or his 
choice to concentrate his whole attention on the point before 
him for the moment ; he is poetical, because he lives in an 
artificial, literary age, and the habit of thinking in terms of 
what he has read has become natural to him ; but when we 
ask why he varies his constructions arbitrarily, the principle 
le style Jest Fhomme seems to fail us ; we can only answer that 
he does it * because it was the way to be striking/ or ' because 
he thought it would look clever.' 

The three peculiarities 1 may ■ be successively analysed in 
detail, though no analysis can be so accurate as to dispense 
with the necessity of personal verification, or so complete as 
to supersede the instinctive insight that only comes from per- 
sonal familiarity with the author. It thus appears useless to 
quote illustrative passages, unless really necessary to illustrate 
the terms used in describing them ; each rule of Tacitean 
language, if rightly reckoned as characteristic, will have a 
good many illustrations to be quoted for it, and the student 
who collects his own will be likely to appreciate the rule 
best, and (what is more important), to appreciate Tacitus 

I. Of course the simplest method of securing brevity in a 
sentence is to leave out some of the words of which it is 
naturally composed. Ellipsis is very frequent in Tacitus, not 
for the sake of mere brevity, but in general because the words 
omitted are pointless ones, only connecting links between the 

1 Two of them have been made the subjects of monographs, Schmidt, 
de ellipsi Tacitina, and Goebel, de Taciti poetico stili colore. They are pro- 
bably not generally accessible in England ; A. A. Draeger's exhaustive 
work Ueber Syntax und Stil des Tacitus, if it is not, ought to be. There 
is little in the text that is not found in one or the other of these, or at 
least suggested by them. 


emphatic words on which he desires to concentrate our 

He omits the verb substantive very often, especially after 
inde and other words expressing origin. In some cases, of 
course, it is omitted in all writers, at least in the indicative ; 
but he omits it even in the subjunctive, if there is another verb 
co-ordinate with it in the sentence, from which it can be sup- 
plied in the proper mood and tense. (This even Sallust, the 
most like Tacitus of early writers in his grammatical wilfulness, 
never ventures on.) He omits it in the infinitive constantly — 
even where it is fore not esse that must be supplied. (This 
last is quite peculiar to him.) 

He omits verba sentiendi et dicendi, even in the Dialogue. 
Characteristic of him, though not peculiar to him, is the habit 
of gradually sliding into oratio obliqua, so that the historian, from 
speaking in his own person, passes into a record of the senti- 
ments of others — of others perhaps not named nor defined. 

He uses the genitive of quality unusually often without a 
substantive for it to depend on. 

He often omits eo, tanto, potius, in comparisons. 

Asyndeton is characteristic of him ; so, on the other hand, is 
the emphatic use of a single conjunction at the beginning of a 
sentence. The word ceterwn in particular has with him a pecu- 
liarly pregnant force, almost = re vera autem ; perhaps arising 
naturally from its original or at least etymological one, l at all 
events/ but only found in Tacitus, and once in Suetonius 
( Vit. 2, sed quod discrepat, sit in medio. Ceterwn, etc.). In 
general, it may be said that his use of conjunctions is peculiar 

From these suggestive transitions, we come naturally to the 
class of sentences which are rather compressed than elliptical. 
Tacitus does compress his sentences by all means in his 
power, but, as compression is a characteristic of all vigorous 
Latin, fewer of his methods for it are individually charac- 


teristic. One should however be noticed — the use of an ep- 
exegetical or proleptic accusative, in apposition, so to speak, to 
the action of the verb (see e.g. Hist. i. 44. 3, and note). This 
is partly a Graecism that had come into fashion since Cicero, 
but mainly a peculiarity of his own. He introduces, on the 
same principle, parentheses characterising the action of the 

II. Tacitus' fondness for poetical language scarcely manifests 
itself more frequently than Livy's, but he goes further in the 
direction of pure poetry. Livy, it is noticed, begins his work 
with the first four feet of a hexameter, and is rather fond of 
ending a sentence with the last two ; but Tacitus oftener com- 
bines heroic rhythm with heroic style ; in the Germany (39. 2) 
he has one complete hexameter, much more like Virgil than 
the lumbering groups of six feet that ingenious people can 
detect in almost any prose, e.g. the opening ot the Annals, are 
like even Ennius. 

It is a question how far Tacitus' inclination for poetical style 
was a matter of fashion, how far of personal taste. That the 
former theory r is not inadmissible is shown by Dial. 20. 5, 
Exigitur enitnjam ab orator e etiam poeticus decor, non Accii aut 
Pacuvii veiemo inquinatus, sed ex Horatii et Virgilii et Lucani 
sacrario pvlatus ; horum igitur auribus et judiciis obtemperans 
nostrornm oratorum aetas pulchrior ei omatior extitit. But 
with himself, if he does follow a fashion, the mark of indivi- 
duality is strong ; his language is not merely poetical, but 
Virgilian. In the cases where he writes with a traceable 
reminiscence of a particular passage, it is oftener one from 
Virgil than from any prose author that he imitates — next most 
frequently Livy, and perhaps Cicero ; Sallust not so often, 
though in general style, and in some of his individual gram- 
matical peculiarities, he resembles him more than any earlier 


Of his grammatical variations from prose usage and approxi- 
mation to that of poetry, the widest in range is a tendency to 
do more by case inflexions and less by prepositions. He 
omits e.g. oftener than most writers the preposition with the 
ablative of motion from a place; he uses also the simple 
ablative of rest in a place, when the noun designating the 
place either has an epithet or a genitive depending on and 
qualifying it. Similarly, he extends the usage of the simple 
accusative to express motion to a place ; he uses it with the 
names not only of towns, but of nations or countries (in Ann. 
xii. 32. 1, we should probably read indt Cangos). He uses the 
dative of the agent freely. 

With this tendency to omit prepositions may be compared 
another, common to him and Lucan, to use simple verbs in 
the sense of compounds. 

The substantival use of adjectives is common. 

In the order of words, he has a tendency to put the subject 
at the end of the sentence. This is commoner in poetry than 

He has not very many uses of words exclusively poetical ; 
sistere, ' to place, set in a certain spot ' (as Virg. Aen. iv. 634), 
and cognomentum, in the mere sense of ' name/ may be so con- 
sidered ; also sponte with the genitive is characteristic of 
Tacitus and Lucan. He is fond of verbals in -for, and has 
several which are either peculiar to him, or are elsewhere 
poetical or post-classical. 

III. Varieties in construction are of course difficult to 
classify ; in many cases, they consist simply in this, that 
whereas any writer might have constructed a sentence on 
either of two plans, Tacitus has chosen to construct half on 
one, and half on the other. Under this head, however, may 
be grouped most of those peculiarities of construction which 
do not fall under either of the former. 


He uses verbs with the accusative that are transitive in 
sense, but are generally followed by other cases. Similarly, he 
forms passives from verbs properly intransitive ; also he uses 
deponent participles in a passive sense. 

With this may be associated his use of the verbs coepi and 
desino with -passive infinitives : this is not absolutely peculiar 
to him, but is post- Augustan. 

He is fond of throwing oratio gbliqua into an impersonal 
form ; see e.g. Hist i. 50. 1 and note. 

He uses the present participle with a genitive more fre- 
quently, and in more words than most writers, especially 
earlier ones. 

The Historical Infinitive is frequent in him — not so frequent 
as in Sallust. 

He uses the perfect where the pluperfect would be more 

He uses, more commonly than other writers, the imperfect 
for verbs depending on a historical present. 

He uses the conjunctive often in a potential sense. 

He is tolerant of the irregularity by which, Kara o-wco-ti/, a 
singular subject is joined with a plural verb, or conversely. 

Similarly, he joins substantives and adjectives of different 

He forms a good many unusual or abnormal comparatives — 
not so many absolutely as Cicero, but probably more in pro- 
portion to the extent of his works. (Draeger refuses to ac- 
knowledge the form cundatior, supposed to mean ' more of a 
cunctatorj in Hist. iii. 4. 2 ; it occurs also in Suet. Jul. 60, but 
in both places it is easy to read cunctantior.) 

The gerundive genitive, in a final sense, is commoner per- 
haps in Tacitus than in any other author. This may be an 
individual peculiarity, akin to fondness for ellipsis, or may be 
aociden tally representative of his age. The construction is not 


found between Terence and Velleius ; but its occurrence in 
early Latin perhaps shows that it is not a conscious Graecism. 

He often employs an adverb by itself as predicate of a 

Some peculiarities in his use of particles have been already- 
noticed. He uses an for ' or/ where there is no question, and 
without a particle in the clause expressing the first alternative, 
oftener than any one else, though this is not altogether pecu- 
liar to him. 

He uses non and tuque (rather than ne or neve), with the con- 
junctive in an optative sense. 

He has quamquam with the indicative perhaps more fre- 
quently than usual. 

In the order of words he varies from common usage more 
than in constructions. We have already noticed the frequency 
of his keeping the subject to the end of the sentence ; and as 
he thus inverts the natural order in the sentence as a whole, 
so in the parts of it, or secondary predications. Thus we find 
the adjective before the substantive more commonly in him 
than in most Latin. 

It seems to be almost a converse case to this, where the 
cognomen is placed before the gentile name. The cognomen 
was a persona/ name in its later as in its earlier usage, though 
in the two last centuries of the Republic it had become 
virtually hereditary — yet not more than were certain prae- 
nomina [see on Hist. ii. 48. 5] which of course were primarily 
personal. Dio wrote (at least we can scarcely suppose that 
Xiphilinus wrote out of his own head) Td\f3as 6 Sepovtos 6 
^ovXttlklos. But though Tacitus does invert these names not 
seldom, it can hardly be said to be a peculiarity of his ; names 
had often been inverted, at least in poetry metri gratia, ever 
since the days of the epitaph of 

Cornelius Lucius Scipio Barbatus. 


An inversion more characteristic of Tacitus is the placing 
titles before names. 

Remarkable in Tacitus, though not peculiar to him, is the 
habit of separating, by one or more words, two words closely 
united in construction. This becomes more and more frequent 
from the time of Cicero onwards. One instance to which 
these remarks especially apply is the insertion of ipse between 
the two agreeing words of an ablative absolute. 

The anastrophe of a preposition is more or less characteristic 
of Tacitus. His placing a preposition after two cases depend- 
ing on it is absolutely peculiar to him ; putting it between the 
two is nearly so ; putting it after a single case is of course not 
unknown elsewhere, though more frequent with him than any 
one. He often inserts the preposition between the substantive 
and adjective, which is elsewhere mostly poetical ; and he is 
the only prose author who inserts it between substantives in 

There are instances, less easy to classify, of similar ana- 
strophe of conjunctions. 

The text of this edition is Orelli's. On a comparison of those 
that have appeared since his, I feel as if more scholarly in 
genuity than soundness of judgment had been employed on its 
emendation. Ritter's collation of the chief mss. (M and M a ), 
is preferred to Baiter's, which Orelli used; but the text of 
Ritter's (nearly contemporary) edition seems far less judicious 
than Orelli's. The truth is, that so far as Tacitus' text has 
been preserved at all, it has been preserved in a very satisfac- 
tory condition ; just because there never were many copies of 
him, the few copies we have have come to us through few 
hands. There are comparatively few passages where critical 
sagacity is called for at all, except in the two places where a 
pair of leaves has been lost from our archetypal ms. (that here 


cited as M, /.<?., Mediceus, but called M a where it is necessary 
to distinguish it from the MS. of the earlier books of the Annals, 
also in the Florentine Library) and in these it seems that the 
most conservative treatment is the wisest. 

The only point upon which I thought it possible to improve 
materially upon Orelli, is his orthography. No doubt on this 
point more is known as to Latin usage than was known twenty- 
seven years ago ; and it is no doubt desirable that what is already 
known to the learned should, as speedily as possible, be passed 
on to the common stock of the well-informed. But it seemed to 
be beyond the scope of the present work to enter into discus- 
sions of the transitional usages of Tacitus' time; and Orelli's 
usage is not really misleading, though it might have been better if 
he had adhered more consistently to the ms, reading in doubt- 
ful or variable points. Every one now admits we ought to 
write temp to, not tento as he did, and a few other corrections 
might be pointed out, of much the same degree of importance ; 
also it appears certain that Tacitus habitually wrote expecto, 
extitit, etc., not exs. In writing the syllable vo or vu, usage 
was changing in Tacitus' time ; in this point at least Orelli 
adheres closely to his ms. evidence, and, I do not doubt, 
rightly. But it seems a mere affectation to reject the distinc- 
tion — which the ancient Latin alphabet craved for and the 
modern has attained — between the vowels / and u and the 
semivowels/ and v. 

In exegesis, I have found more help from Orelli's notes 
than from any other source. It is rather strange that so diffi- 
cult and yet so popular an author should have so few exegeti- 
cal commentaries. Next to Orelli, I have made most use of 
Church and Brodribb's translation — to which I desire to do 
justice here, because most of my mentions of it in the notes 
express dissent. As a translation — a reproduction of the 
original, to be read in its place — I think their work has been 



overrated ; but the more any one learns how difficult Tacitus 
is to translate, the more will he recognise the difficulty and 
the utility of having an expression, such as any well-considered 
translation gives, of a deliberate and definite even if not a final 
view on the question of his precise meaning. 


P. 3. — Note on c. 1, § 4, nostram. This note should be modified by 

reference to the Introduction, Part 1. 
P. 4. — Note on c. 2, § 1, for i see Preface,' read 'see Introduction, 

p. lviii.' 
P. 12, 11. 1, 5, and note on c. 8, § I ; p. 13, 1. 1 ; p. 23, 1. 8 {bis), 
for tanquam read tamquam. 
Similarly, at p. 14, 1. 4, for quanquam read quamquam. 
P. 13. — On § 7, add the note, ' Voluisset. M. has nohasset, which recent 

editors have, no doubt rightly, found courage to restore. ' 
P. 14, 1. 8, for immotus rm^inmotus. 
P. 19. — (First genealogical table), for 'Tib. Claudius Drusus' read 'D. 

Claudius Drusus.' 
P. 62. — Instead of the third note on c. 58, § 1, read: — 

Partim. M. has paro ; raro seems on palaeographical grounds 
to be a better emendation. 
P. 82. — Note on c. 82, § 4, for intentum ratf/intentus. 
P. 86. — To the note on c. 83, § 7, add e Others read si cur, which gives 

perhaps the completest sense.' 
P. 142. — To the note on c. 57, § 2, add C M. has delecta, and, like the 

best mss. in general, spells dilectibus just above ; it therefore 

is probably best to read e Br. exercitu delecta." 1 
P. 156, 1. 2, for omina read omnia. 
P. 163. — To the note on c. 80, § 2, mutationis, add ( Triller's altitudinis 

is both nearer to the MS., and seems more pointed in sense.' 




I Initium mihi operis Servius Galba iterum Titus Vinius 
consules erunt. Nam post conditam urbem octingentos et 
viginti prioris aevi annos multi auctores rettulerunt, dum res 

Ch. I. i Initium . . . consules 
erunt] * The beginning of my work 
shall be the consulship of . . .' 
In English we should use the abs- 
tract word, while in Latin it is 
kept in the concrete ; a participle 
or adjective, or substantive in ap- 
position, being added to the main 
substantive. The repetition of these 
words in n. 5 presents no diffi- 
culty, else the construction is per- 
haps commoner in the oblique cases, 
e.g. Cic. Phil. xiii. 16. 33 init, 
1 securi percussos Petrum et Mace- 
donum . . . laudastis? 'You ap- 
proved of the execution of . . .' 
Perhaps the closest parallel to this 
particular expression is found in 
Greek, eTrrjei. xp6 V0S > BefjLurroKKijs 
&PX<*>v, Aesch. in Ctes. §62. 

Servius Galba] The Gentile 
name Sulpiciusis omitted — Servius, , 
scarcely less than Galba, being char- 
acteristic of that house, cf. ii. 47. 5. 

iterum] His former consulship 
was in A. D. 33, see Ann. vi. 20. 3. 
Even if he were not the emperor, 
the consul who had held the office 
before would be naturally men- 
tioned first, while in English we 

should more naturally mention 
what belonged only to one member 
of a sentence, in the second member 
than in the first. Here we might 
translate : ' the second consulship 
of Galba, with T. Vinius. ' 

Nam] The connexion is 'Here 
we begin modern history, — modern, 
though not the most recent. The 
earlier history has already been 
treated often, — that of the Republic 
well, that of the hereditary Caesars 
according to men's partialities. In 
the period I now treat of (that of 
the Civil Wars and of the Flavii), 
I mean to shun all partiality ; if I 
live to treat of our own happier 
times, impartiality will be a cheap 
and easy virtue. ' 

octingentos et viginti] 822, 
according to the common reckoning. 
Either Tacitus follows the other 
(commonly called Catonian) chrono- 
logy, or he uses a round number. 
So again iv. 58. 8, which is spoken 
a year later, and so, if anything, 
supports the second view. In 
Ann. xiii. 58, the number must be 
corrupt or careless ; tradition makes 
the Twins found the city when only 


populi Romani memorabantur, pari eloquentia ac libertate. 
Postquam bellatum apud Actium atque omnem potentiam ad 2 
unum conferrif pacis interfuit, magna ilia 'ingenia cessere ; 
simul Veritas plufibus modis infracta, primum inscitia rei 
publicae ut alienae, mox libidine adsentandi aut rursus odio 

eighteen ; reading octingentos et tri- 
ginta, this would give the common 

res populi Romani] 'The his- 
tory of the nation of Rome,' 
opposed to that of the court. We 
have a similar expression as well 
as thought in Ann. i. I. 4, iv. 32. I. 

eloquentia ac lioertate]? The 
loss of the first quality is indicated 
by magna . . . cessere^ that of the 
second by Veritas . . . infracta. 

2 PostcLuam . . . cessere] 
Tacitus means that the monarchy 
established after Actium cut off the 
supply of great historians, as well 
as that it was the limit of the time 
treated by great historians. Livy, 
though he wrote under Augustus, 
had grown up under the Republic ; 
and if not exactly a> republican, was 
called by Augustus a Pompeian. 

potentiam] So M. Bekker, 
following the secondary mss. and 
Ernesti, wished to read pvtestatem, 
because ' potestas confertur, potentia 
paratur? The truth is, potentia 
means extra-legal, potestas, legal 
power ; now the empire might be 
conceived as either, according to 
men's political views* and the 
oxymoron potentiam conferri very 
accurately expresses Tacitus's own 
attitude towards the question be- 
tween them. In the abstract, all 
despotic power was an usurpation ; 
in fact, it was undeniable that the 
despotism was the only lawful or 
possible government.. In Ann. 
iii. 69. 6, we have both nouns (and 
imperium also) used of the imperial 
power — potentia there being, as 
usual, meant as a rather invidious 

Veritas] Means, perhaps, more 
often * truthfulness ' (as here) than 
'truth/ while verus is oftener 
' real ' of things or * true ' of pro- 
positions than ' truthful ' of persons 
— though the last is not unknown. 

inscitia rei publicae ut alienae] 
' Ignorance of the nation's affairs, 
as not being affairs of theirs,' but 
of the nation's single ruler. Res- 
publica is exactly the same as the 
res populi Romani of the last §. 
So it ought to be etymologically 
(Cic. de Rep. i. 26. 41), and so Per- 
sius (iv. 1), ' Rem populi tractas J metri 
gratia, where in prose one would 
say, rem publicam tractare or capes- 
sere. Respublica, though it sometimes 
passes from the abstract ' state affairs ' 
to the concrete * state,' never leaves 
its etymology quite behind it; 
hence, while in literal meaning 
exactly equivalent to the English 
' commonwealth,' in political ter- 
minology it is more like ' constitu- 
tion' (in Sail. Cat. 51. 17, ' aliena 
a republica nostra ' is exactly our 
' unconstitutional '). Like * con- 
stitution ' or iroXirela, respublica 
tends to imply popular freedom, and 
does imply recognition of popular 
rights ; but it does not imply a 
' republican ' form of government ; 
perhaps it comes nearest to it in 
i. 16. 1, 50. 3, while we see the 
* tendency in this passage and the 
parallel exordium to the Annals. 
It excludes a despotism or dvvaareia 
where the ruler or rulers rem suani 
agunt, non publicam, but not a 
legitimate and national monarchy, 
even though as absolute as the 
Persian (Cic. I.e. sqq.) 

primum . . . mox] The earlier 


ad versus dominantes : ita neutris cura posteritatis, inter 
infensos vel obnoxios. Sed ambitionem scriptoris facile 3 
averseris, obtrectatio et livor pronis auribus accipiuntur: 
quippe adulationi foedum crimen servitutis, malignitati falsa 
species libertatis inest. Mini Galba Othq Vitellius nee 4 
beneficio nee injuria cogniti. Dignitatem nostram a Ves- 
pasiano inchoatam, a Tito auctam, a Domitiano longius 
provectam non abnuerim : sed incorruptam fidem professis 
neque amore quisquam et sine odio dicendus est. Quodsi 5 

defect would apply to writers of trie 
age of Augustus, the second to those 
under the Claudii; of extant writers, 
the first might include Livy, the 
second would , include Velleius. 
The first charge (that indifference 
to constitutional practice led to 
mistakes in constitutional theory) 
perhaps lends some support to the 
view of Niebuhr, that the ancient 
constitution was less understood, 
and the ancient history less faith- 
fully treated, by the Augustan 
historians than by the antiquarians 
of the second century. 

neutris] Neither the flatterers 
nor the slanderers of the emperors 
cared for posterity (whose only 
interest was to have truth told),, 
only to give vent to- their e& parte 

inter . . . vel] Because their 
contemporaries, for whom they did 
care, shared their own partial 
passions or interests. One would 
have expected inter . . . atque, 
but Tacitus has chosen to say 'in 
the midst of men either avowed 
enemies or bound to servility/ 
instead of l between the hostile a,7id 
the servile.' For obnoxios, cf. 
Livy xxiii. 12. 5, where it is opposed 
to sufierbus. 

3 ambitionem] Oftener, in 
earlier writers, of interested court 
paid to the people than to an 
individual, as of course is more 
natural from the etymology, e.g. 

Sail. Jug. 45. 1.. But the change 
of sense came- insensibly with the 
change of government. 

maligniijati] Comes near to the 
sense of "malignity,' being properly 
' giving a man less than his due.' 

4 nostram] 1 His own personally, — 
not his family's, — which, however, 
was of equestrian rank r and so not 
noble, though respectable, a genera- 
tion earlier,— for the Cornelius Taci- 
tus of Plin. N. H. 7. 17. must have 
been a relation, though it is only a 
conjecture that he was his father. 
He may have been a patrician Cor- 
nelius ; at any rate,, he has caught 
the tone of a Roman noble too well 
to make us think that he came (as 
is likely enough of Cornelius Laco, 
and other soldiers of the name) of 
the foreigners and freedmen with 
whom Sulla had flooded Italy. 

a Domitiano] ■ Underhim he was 
Praetor and Quindecimvir {Ann. 
xi. 11. 3), and apparently a pro- 
minent member of the Senate, as 
he seems to reproach himself (Agr. 
45. i)-for sharing its servility. We 
can only infer from the 1 ordinary 
hierarchical routine what were the 
dignities he held under Vespasian 
and Titus.. 

neque amore cpiisquam et sine 
odio] ! Neqite . . . et is a common 
form enough of pointing an anti- 
thesis, and Tacitus uses it here to 
• produce the sense, l having pro- 
claimed my intention to be im- 


vita suppeditet, principatum divi Nervae et imperium Trajani, 
uberiorem securioremque materiam, senectuti seposui, rara 
temporum felicitate, ubi sentire quae velis, et quae sentias 
dicere licet. 
2 Opus adgredior opimum casibus, atrox praeliis, discors 
seditionibus, ipsa etiam pace saevom. Quattuor principes 
ferro interempti. Trina bella civilia, plura externa ac plerum- 2 
que permixta. Prosperae in Oriente, adversae in Occidente 
res. Turbatum Illyricum ; Galliae nutantes ; perdomita 3 

partial, as I shall of course not give 
way to affection, so I must speak 
without hatred,' which he might 
more easily be suspected of. But 
here the form of the antithesis pro- 
duces a little confusion; for one 
could not say sine odio quisquam 
dicendus est: some distributive pro- 
noun must be supplied in the second 

5] Tacitus seems, when he began 
the Annales ab excessu divi Augusti, 
to have abandoned this project, — not 
simply deferred it, as in Ann. iii. 
24. 4 he contemplates writing, 'if 
his life lasted long enough,' a 
history of the reign, not of Trajan, 
but of Augustus. 

principatum . . . imperium] 
The civil and military sides of the 
imperial power, thus naturally as- 
cribed to the man of peace and the 
conqueror respectively. 

securiorem] * Less anxious,' less 
painful to contemplate ; also no 
doubt less likely to give offence, 
but Tacitus does not affect to think 
his plain speaking about the past 
dangerous ; he only means, ' I shall 
not be afraid to write Trajan's life 
while Trajan lives, as I should have 
been to write Domitian's. ' 

Ch. II. 1] ' The work I prepare 
to encounter is one rich in strokes 
'of fate, hideous with battle, dis- 
tracted with sedition.' 

Quattuor principes] Galba, Otho, 
and Vitellius are plainly three ; the 

fourth must be Domitian, not Nero. 
Not only have we external evidence 
(rather provoking, but undeniable ; 
see Preface) that Domitian's death 
was included in the work ; in this 
c. events of his reign are plainly 
spoken of, and at what point before 
his death could the book have ended? 
Trina bella civilia] There was 
none at the death of Galba, but 
there was one between Otho and 
Vitellius, one between Vitellius and 
Vespasian. The third must appar- 
ently be the revolt of Saturninus 
against Domitian ; though there had 
been*between Vindex and the troops 
still adhering to Nero what is cer- 
tainly called a civil war, in ii. 6. 3, 
and deserves the title perhaps better 
than the latter, yet it cannot, any 
more than Nero's death, be said to 
be comprised in this work. The 
only mention made of either that is 
more than an allusion is in c. 4, 
and this is expressly announced as 
coming before the author sets in 
order the work of his main purpose. 

2 plerumque permixta] 'And 
the two generally united,' as when 
Civilis professed to be fighting for 
Vespasian. Antonius Saturninus also 
had engaged German auxiliaries. ' 

Prosperae . . . res] Judaea 
was thoroughly conquered, and the 
threats from Parthia came to 
nothing, while Gaul revolted and 
Germany became dangerous. 

3 perdomita] By Agricola. 



Britannia et statim missa; coortae in nos Sarmatarum ac 

Suevorum gentes ; nobilitatus cladibus mutuis Dacus ; mota 

prope etiam Parthorum arma falsi Neronis ludibrio. Jam 4 

vero Italia novis cladibus vel post longam seculorum seriem 

repetitis afflicta. Haustae aut obrutae urbes fecundissima 5 

Campaniae ora. Et urbs incendiis vastata, consumptis 

antiquissimis delubris, ipso Capitolio civium manibus incenso. 

Pollutae caerimoniae, magna adulteria. Plenum exsiliis mare, 6 

infecti caedibus scopuli. Atrocius in urbe saevitum. Nobili- 7 

tas, opes, omissi gestique honores pro crimine, et ob virtutes 

repetitis] Almost, * brought from 
a very deep corner in the stores of 
the past' 

5 Haustae would especially apply- 
to Herculaneum, obrutae to Pompeii. 

fecundissima . . . ora] Most 
simply taken as an ablative in 
locative sense, but may be a nom- 
inative in apposition to urbes, the 
cities being conceived as forming 
the coast-line. 

Et gives emphasis by coming 
in the midst of an asyndeton, so 
that it is almost as much as ' etiam 
Capitolio . . . incenso,' iii. 76 sqq. 

consumptis . . . delubris] Pro- 
bably refers to the fire in Titus's 
reign, a.d. 80. 

6 magna] ' In high places.' 
mare] Probably 'every island 

was a prison,' possibly, 'the sea 
was covered with ships bearing men 
to banishment.' 

infecti . . . scopuli] When 
a man nominally exiled (see, e.g. 
46. 8) was to be executed or assas- 
sinated (the line between the two 
was imperceptible), of course the 
place chosen for exile would not 
only be isolated but desolate. Pos- 
sibly also sometimes a cliff would 
be chosen for the scene, to give a 
colour of accident or suicide. 

7 pro crimine] Rather 'served 
for accusation,' than 'stood in the 
place of crime ;' though if crimen 
could come so near in meaning to 

missa] 'Let go,' rather than 
'lost' One might compare the 
phrase mis sum facer e, 'to dismiss,' 
and Horace's non missura cutem 
. . . hirudo {A. P., fin.) The 
statement is only true if taken in 
close connexion with perdomita. 
Agricola marched, gaining victories, 
to the extreme north, and the 
country overrun by him was not 
retained ; this Tacitus conceives as 
a conquest of the whole island, 
followed by a retreat within the 
old limits. 

Neronis ludibrio] Probably not 
that mentioned in ii. 8. 9, but one 
more dangerous, in the time of 
Domitian, or perhaps of Titus. 
Nero's personal popularity made 
him one of the monarchs, like 
James I v. and Sebastian, whose 
death is disbelieved by the people ; 
and such disbelief either passes into 
a mythical expectation of his return 
(as with Arthur or Barbarossa), or 
gives an opening to a series of 
human impostors (as with Demetrius 
of Russia). With Nero, both re- 
sults seem to have followed. And 
Christian tradition, as well as modern 
exegesis, supports the interpretation 
of Rev. xiii. , in relation to him. 

4 Jam vero] ' But then (besides 
those imperial disasters) here com- 
mences a period of disasters to Italy 
unknown before, or such as make 
one go far back to find a parallel. ' 


certissimum exitium. Nee minus praemia delatorum invisa 
quam scelera, cum alii sacerdotia et consulatus ut spolia 
adepti, procurationes alii et interiorem potentiam, agerent 
verterent cuncta odio et terrore. Corrupti in dominos servi, < 
in patronos liberti; et quibus deerat inimicus, per amicos 
3 oppressi. Non tamen adeo virtutum sterile seculum ut non 
et bona exempla prodiderit. Comitatae profugos liberos 
matres, secutae maritos in exsilia conjuges ; propinqui auden- 
tes, con stan tes generi ; contumax etiam adversus tormenta 

scelus, the latter would give a more 
forcible antithesis to ob virtutes 
certissimum exitiu?n. 

procurationes] The procurators 
(at least the merely fiscal ones) 
were no more than Caesar's 
stewards ; the governors, even of 
an imperial province, bore more the 
character of public functionaries. 

interiorem emphasizes the force 
potentia?n always has (as noted 
on I. 2) of secret and, by implica- 
tion, discreditable influence. 

agerent verterent] The asyn- 
deton is probably suggested by the., 
familiar phrase agereferre. 

8] The slave is conceived as 
being in a personal relation to his 
master, and under an obligation of 
personal loyalty {pietas) to him. 
Such is the sentiment of Virg. Aen. 
vi. 613, i quique arma secuti Impia, 
nee veriti dominorum falle?'e dexiras. ' 
It is of course less unnatural to our 
minds that such an obligation should 
be conceived to exist on the part of 
the freedman ; as his master has 
conferred rights on him, he may 
lay claim to compensating duties. 
But ancient (and particularly 
Roman) moral, no less than legal, 
conceptions, were * based on status, 
not on contract,' nor even on reci- 

Ch. III. secutae . . . conjuges] 
He is perhaps thinking of Fannia, 
the wife of Helvidius, though his 
death cut short the companionship 

on his second banishment, which 
alone would fall within this work. 

audentes, constantes] If a man 
embarked on a dangerous career, 
relations of his own standing would 
feel bound in honour to share it ; it 
would be enough for men of a 
younger generation if they stood 
by him when in trouble. 

generi] For the tenderness of 
this relationship at Rome, cf. Cat. 
72. 4, i pater ut natos diligit et 
generos.' In most states of society, 
the first steps for arranging a mar- 
riage are taken by the bridegroom 
or his family ; at Rome they seem 
to have been taken by the bride's 
family. Plutarch thought it an 
extreme case when Ap. Claudius 
'courted' Tib. Gracchus for his 
daughter; yet quaerere or deligere 
generum are common phrases {e.g.- 
inf. iii. 5. 4, of Thrasea and Hel- 
vidius) ; while there is no Latin word 
meaning distinctively 'to woo,' and 
the substantive procus is rare in 
prose, almost unknown in his- 
torians. Writers of Epithalamia 
thought it elegant to represent the 
bridegroom at least as impassioned ; 
but the ideal of sober moralists was, 
that the honourable state should 
be embraced apart from personal 
bias, and this made it natural that 
it should be a matter rather of 
arrangement than of choice, — ' ne 
tanquani maritum sed tanquam 
matrimonium anient' (cf. Germ, 


servorum fides ; supremae clarorum virorum necessitates ; 
ipsa necessitas fortiter tolerata, et laudatis antiquorum mortibus 
f pares exitus. Praeter multiplices rerum humanarum casus 2 
caelo terraque prodigia et fulminum monitus et futurorum 
praesagia, laeta tristia, ambigua manifesta. Nee enim unquam 3 
atrocioribus populi Romani cladibus magisve justis indiciis 
adprobatum est non esse curae deis securitatem nostram, esse 
4 Ceterum antequam destinata componam, repetendum videtur 
qualis status urbis, quae mens exercituum, quis habitus pro 
vinciarum, quid in to to terrarum orbe validum, quid aegrum 
fuerit, ut non modo casus eventusque rerum, qui plerumque 
fortuiti sunt, sed ratio etiam causaeque noscantur. Finis 2 

19. 4). Pompey is thought to have 
married Julia '/or love, 5 and does 
not seem to have had any personal 
regard for her father; but the 
successive marriages of the other 
Julia, Augustus' daughter, illus- 
trate the way that a man's political 
inheritance was ordinarily devolved. 
There is a similar significance in 
the marriages of Gracchus and 
Priscus before referred to ; perhaps 
one might add the cases of Laelius 
and Scaevola, of Agricola and 
Tacitus himself. 

supremae ... 

' Compelled suicides,' so infr. 72. 5, 
Ann. xi. 37. 4, and necessitas ultima 
in Ann. xv. 61 fin. Tacitus 
abounds in euphemistic paraphrases 
for suicide, — just as the Japanese 
Hara kiri is said now to be 
thought a coarse expression, and 
it has been superseded by another 
word. In fact, imperial Rome 
and modern Japan are almost 
unique cases of suicide becoming 
* a national vice,' enforced, like 
duelling in modern Europe, by a 
code of honour on a certain class 
in certain cases. 

3] For the sentiment, cf. Lucan 

iv. 807 sqq., c Si libertatis supe7'is 
tarn cura placeret Quam vindicta 
placet.' For the pessimist, yet 
hardly sceptical, religious tone, 
cf. Agr. 46. 1. 

nostram] If Tacitus was actually 
thinking of the passage in Lucan, 
this must mean populi Romani, 
else one might more naturally 
take it in a general sense, 'of us 
men.' The relation of nostram to 
ultionem is obscure; is it 'venge- 
ance on us ' or ' vengeance for us '? 
If Lucan is a sure parallel, he will 
decide for the latter view. 

Ch. IV. 1] ' But before I set 
in order the work proposed for my 
task, I think it necessary to retrace 
the question, how the capital stood 
how the armies were affected, how 
, the provinces were disposed ; what 
elements of strength or weakness 
there were in the whole world, that 
a view may be gained, not only of 
circumstances and events, which 
are generally accidental, but of the 
pervading principle and reasons.' 
The sense of the last clause is, — ■ 
one can trace a principle in the 
general outline and tendency of the 
history of a period ; but particular 



Neronis ut laetus primo gaudentium impetu fuerat, ita varios 
motus animorum non modo in urbe apud patres aut populum 
aut urbanum militem, sed omnes legiones ducesque conciverat, 
evolgato imperii arcano, posse principem alibi quam Romae 
fieri. Sed patres laeti, usurpata statim libertate licentius ut 3 
erga principem novum et absentem ; primores equitum proximi 
gaudio patrum ; pars populi integra et magnis domibus adnexa, 
clientes libertique damnatorum et exsulum, in spem erecti : 
plebs sordida et circo ac theatris sueta, simul deterrimi ser- 

events cannot be affiliated to it, or 
to any assignable cause. 

2 gaudentium impetu] We 
should say, 'the first transport of 
men's joy ;' in Latin, as usual, a 
concrete expression is preferred to 
an abstract. 

aut . . . aut] Almost 'among 
the senate, the people, and the 
army respectively. ' 

conciverat] Joined by a rather 
harsh zeugma with the two dis- 
similar accusatives, varios motus 
animorum and omnes legiones duces- 
que: 'had roused, not only various 
feelings in the city, ... but the 
legions and their commanders also.' 
And the harshness is increased by 
x the unsymmetrical position of non 
modo . . . sed ; in fact Tacitus had 
begun as though he meant to write 
varios motus animorum non modo in 
urbe . . . sed inter legiones ducesque 
conciverat Then it occurred to him 
that the armies were aroused , not their 
feelings only ; and so he omitted the 
preposition in the latter clause, with- 
out altering the former to suit it. 

posse . .' . fieri] This was the 
absolute novelty ; else Claudius had 
been appointed by the army, before 
the senate's consent was asked or 

3] 'But the Fathers rejoiced, 
having felt the less restraint in 
asserting their liberty when the 
emperor they had to deal with was 
a new one, and absent.' 

usurpata . . . erga is not 

quite 'asserted against,' for erga 
is almost always of friendly rela- 
tions ; still the_ assertion or exercise 
of liberty implies a person to be free 

pars populi integra] Probably 
in apposition to clientes libertique 
damnatorum, the latter being epex- 
egetical of magnis domibus adnexa. 
It is indeed quite possible that the 
two classes, though partly identified, 
are not meant to be co- extensive ; 
but it is needless and harsh to 
assume an asyndeton. The uncor- 
rupted part of the people was 
preserved from corruption by having 
some tie to the national honour, 
and the most general tie was con- 
nexion with great houses, and the 
commonest connexion was clientela 
(though Or. is relevant on adnexa, 
'varios per necessitudines ut puta 
per clientdas, per procurationes 
redituum ac latifundiorum, per 
rem etiam fenebrei?i '). Again', most 
great houses had had their chief 
members condemned, so that clientes 
libertique damnatorum would form, 
if not the whole of the pars populi 
integra, its largest and best defined 
section. The only peculiarity is, 
that Tacitus should speak of clients, 
and even freedmen, in such honour- 
able terms ; but historians do not 
feel this difficulty as editors seem 
to do. He is talking of the city 
population only, — and there a poor 


vorum, aut qui adesis bonis per dedecus Neronis alebantur, 
5 maesti et rumorum avidi. Miles urbanus longo Caesarum 
sacramento inbutus, et ad destituendum Neronem arte magis 
et inpulsu quam suo ingenio traductus, postquam neque dari 
donativum sub nomine Galbae promissum, neque magnis 
mentis ac praemiis eundem in pace quern in bello locum, 
praeventamque gratiam intelligit apud principem a legionibus 
factum, pronus ad novas res, scelere insuper Nymphidii Sabini 
praefecti imperium sibi molientis agitatur. Et Nymphidius 2 
quidem in ipso conatu oppressus : sed quamvis capite defec- 
. tionis ablato, manebat plerisque militum conscientia, nee 
deerant sermones senium atque avaritiam Galbae increpantium. 
Laudata olim et militari fama celebrata severitas ejus angebat 3 
aspernantes veterem disciplinary atque ita quattuordecim 
annis a Nerone adsuefactos, ut haud minus vitia principum 
amarent quam olim virtutes verebantur. Accessit Galbae vox 4 

citizen had no career except that of 
a self-respecting bedesman or an 
exacting pauper, — so he identifies 
the respectable class with the 
former. What there was of an 
industrial and mercantile class will 
indeed be included in the pars 
Integra ; but this also would largely 
consist of freedmen. 

qui . . . aleoantur] Well illus- 
trated by what is said of Vitellius, 
ii. 71. 2. 

Ch. V. 1 inbutus] 'Into 
whose nature the^long habit of 
sworn allegiance to the Caesars 
had sunk.' Notice that Caesarum 
is still a dynastic name rather than 
an official title ; one thing we miss, 
from not having Tacitus's account 
of Galba's accession, is the transition 
from one to the other ; cf. ii. 62. 3. 

inpulsu means a force at once 
external and momentary. 

dari] The present is perhaps 
used because of the awkwardness of 
the periphrasis that forms the only 
equivalent for the fut. inf. pass., 

or rather it gives a slightly different 
sense : ' they saw there was no sign 
of the largesse coming that had been 
promised in Galba's name. ' 

neque .... locum] If more of a 
fight had been made on Nero's 
behalf, there would have been thanks 
for the troops who fought for Galba 
or seasonably deserted Nero. As it 
was, there might be some for the 
legions who had supported Galba, 
but none for the praetorians who 
had passively accepted him. 
* Nymphidii] Ann. xv. 72. 3,4. 

2 conscientia] The consciotisness 
of complicity — both the fact that 
they had known his designs and the 
fact that they remembered it now. 

3 militari fama] No doubt 
chiefly of the legionaries, though the 
miles urbanus would very likely hear 
of it and speak well of it, so long as 
it was at a distance. 

ita . . . adsuefactos ut] 'Whom 
Nero's influence for fourteen years 
had brought into such habits that 



pro re publica honesta, ipsi anceps, legi a se militem, non emi. 
6 Nee enim ad hanc formam cetera erant. Invalidum senem 
Titus Vinius et Cornelius Laco, alter deterrimus rnortalium, 
alter ignavissimus,, odio flagitiorum oneratum contemptu 
inertiae destruebant. Tardum Galbae iter et omentum, inter- 2. 
fectis Cingonio Varrone consule designato et Petronio Tur- 
piliano consulari : ille ut Nymphidii socius, hie ut dux Neronis, 
inauditi atque indefensi tanquam innocentes perierant. 
Introitus in urbem trucidatis tot milibus inermium militum 3 
infaustus omine, atque ipsis etiam qui occiderant formidolosus. 
Inducta legione Hispana, remanente ea quam e classe Nero 4. 
conscripserat, plena urbs exercitu insolito. Multi ad hoc 
numeri e Germania ac Britannia et Illyrico, quos idem Nero 
electos praemissosque ad claustra Caspiarum et bellum quod 
in Albanos parabat, opprimendis Vindicis coeptis revocaverat : 
ingens novis rebus materia, ut non in unum aliquem prono 

pro re p.] Probably * as spoken 
in the name of the state ; ' though 
one might take it 'as from the 
champion of the public interest. ' 

ipsi anceps] Probably explained 
by nee enim . . . erant to mean * of 
questionable fitness to his person.' 
Else one might take it 'doubtful,' 
i.e. dangerous 'to himself.' 

legi] Legere is not quite a technical 
term for the chief of the state ' levy- 
ing ' soldiers (though such a sense is 
implied in legio), but its usage rather 
suggests the vir virum legit of 18. 3. 

deterrimm^us . . . ignavissimus] 
Fullest respectively of positive and 
negative vices. Tacitus is less severe 
upon Vinius in his detailed character 
in i. 48. 

Ch. VI. 1 odio . . . destruebant] 
He started under the weight of the 
old scandals against Vinius ; he 
gradually lost credit, because his 
age and Laco's character prevented 
his showing any activity now that 
would make them forgotten. 

2 tanquam] Tacitus seems to hint 

that they really deserved their fate, 
if Galba had been wise enough to 
prove it. Turpilianus had com- 
manded in Britain in Nero's reign, 
Ann. xiv. 29. 4 ; we must suppose 
that he had been named to com- 
mand the troops mentioned in § 5. 

trucidatis . . . militum] So 
again, 37. 4. The Classiarii 
mobbed him on his approach, being 
afraid of reduction to their former 
rank, and he ordered the cavalry 
to charge them ; then, less excus- 
ably, had the survivors decimated. ■ 

5 numeri] ' Detachments ' or 
bodies of troops of various arms ; 
so Agr. 18. 3. 

claustra Caspiarum] The pass 
also called Pylae Caspiae, leading 
south of the Caspian into the remoter 
east. It- is noticeable that Nero's 
commanders had anticipated the 
conception of Heraclius, that 
Georgia not Armenia was the proper 
base for a Roman army operating 
against Persia. 

ut . . . ita] Both clauses are to 



7 favore, ita audenti parata. Forte congruerat ut Clodii Macri 
et Fonteii Capitonis caedes nuntiarentur. Macrum in Africa 
haud dubie turbantem Trebonius Garutianus procurator jussu 
Galbae, Capitonem in Germania, cum similia coeptaret, 
Gornelius Aquinus et Fabius Valens legati legionum inter- 
fecerant, antequam juberentur. Fuere qui crederent Capitonem 2 
ut avaritia et libidine foedum ac maculosum, ita cogitation e 
rerum novarum abstinuisse ; sed a legatis bellum suadentibus, 
postquam inpellere nequiverint, crimen ac dolum ultro com- 
positum; et Galbam mobilitate ingenii, an ne altius scrut- 
aretur, quoquo modo acta, quia mutari non poterant, compro- 
basse. Ceterum utraque caedes sinistre accepta; et inviso 3 
semel principe seu bene seu male facta premunt. Jam ad- 4 
ferebant venalia cuncta praepotentes liberti ; servorum manus 

justify ingens . . . materia ; they 
were the more dangerous because 
they were ready to take up the 
cause of any revolutionist, not only 
ready to act for a favourite of their 

Ch. VII. 1 Forte] 'Just at this 
conjuncture;' in forte, almost as 
much as rvyxoivetv, the prominent 
notion is coincidence rather than 

Fabius Valens] Of whom we hear 
repeatedly afterwards as the general 
of Vitellius. Of course his conduct 
there supports the view that he had 
suggested a similar course to Capito ; 
but from the form of Tacitus's 
sentence we may perhaps infer that 
he does mean to treat Capito's 
treasonable designs as clear ; though 
even in this sentence, haud dubie 
implies that he had not, like Macer, 
reached the stage of overt acts. 

2 ita] At once a contrast and a 
corollary ; he had vices as bad as 
treason, yet they were in themselves 
a security against treason. The 
sentence would have been more 
symmetrical if he had put an infini- 
tive instead of the simple adjective 

in the first clause, but would have 
expressed this meaning worse. 

inpellere] Almost * to overcome 
his inertia ; ' one might compare the 
use in Virg. Aen. ii. 465, 'turrim' 
. . . convellimus altis sedibus, in- 
fiulimusquej ' and send it over. ' 

crimen ac dolum] A plot of assas- 
sination, and a criminal charge to 
cover it — ac in its most emphatic 
sense; the two were parts of one 
scheme, with common authors. 

mobilitate . . . scrutaretur] 
Either he had not sufficient resolu- 
tion to treat crime in general with 
consistent severity, or had prudential 
motives for not so treating this 

an differs from aut as being more 
of an after-thought; perhaps the 
authors of the theory took the other 
view, while Tacitus himself suggests 
the more creditable motive. Tacitus 
does not think very highly of Galba, 
but he was the senate's emperor, 
and a senatorian writer had to make 
the best of him. 

inviso . . . principe] 'When 
an emperor has once become un- 
popular. ' The use of the abl. abs. 



subitis avidae et tanquam apud senem festinantes ; eademque 
novae aulae mala aeque gravia, non aeque excusata. Ipsa 5 
aetas Galbae inrisui ac fastidio erat .adsuetis juventae Neronis 
et imperatores forma ac decore corporis, ut est mos vulgi, 
comparantibus. Et hie quidem Romae, tanquam in tanta 
multitudine, habitus animorum fuit. E provinciis Hispaniae 2 
praeerat Cluvius Rufus, vir facundus et pacis artibus, bellis 
inexpertus. Galliae, super memoriam Vindicis, obligatae 3 
recenti dono Romanae civitatis et in posterum tributi levamento. 
Proximae tamen Germanis exercitibus Galliarum civitates non 4 
eodem honore habitae, quaedam etiam finibus ademptis, pari 
dolore commoda aliena ac suas injurias metiebantur. Germani 5 
exercitus, quod periculosissimum in tantis v-iribus, solliciti et 

instead of an accus. depending on 
premunt heightens the effect of 
the words coming before the 
verb, and marks the statement as 
general, not confined to the indi- 
vidual case. 

4 subitis] Commonly taken as a 
dat. with avidae, ' greedy for. ' But 
that construction is unique. Church 
and Brodribb try to give it a 
distinctive force, 'caught with greedy 
hands at immediate gain ; ' but 
perhaps it is simpler to make it an 
abl. , * their cupidity aroused by the 
sudden change.' 

eademque . . . excusata] 'And 
the evils of the new court identical 
with those of the old, were equally 
felt as burdens, and found less ready 
excuse.' Aeque gravia is not a 
mere repetition of eadem. Whether 
in construction it is a predicate 
co-ordinate with non aeque excusata, 
or agrees directly with the subject, 
' though equally felt,' the Latin form 
of predication dispensed Tacitus 
from deciding. 

Ch. VIII. 1 tanquam . . . mul- 
titudine] Best taken, with Church 
and Brodribb, ' as far as one can 
speak of so vast a multitude. ' Tan- 

quam in might . naturally mean ' as 
was natural in,' but hie can hardly 
be got to mean ' so various,' which 
is the only sense that the mention of 
the multitude could account for. 

2 facundus et pacis artifous] For 
the coupling of an adj. with an abl. 
of quality, cf. Virg. Aen. vi. 640-1, 
' largior hos campos aether et lumine 
vestit Purpureo. ' 

inexpertus] Rather ' untried in ' 
than ' without experience of ; ' the 
latter would less naturally take the 

3 recenti dono] The chiefs had 
received full citizenship from Claudius 
in his censorship, A.D. 48, Ann. xi. 
23. I. 

4 pari . . . metiebantur] The 
sense is pregnant : ' measured the 
wrong done to them by the good 
bestowed on others, so that they 
were as much distressed by the 
latter as by the former. ' 

5 periculosissimum] The ex- 
treme danger is, for so powerftffa 
force to have their anger and their 
dread aroused ; not the particular 
causes that had aroused theirs, 
though these may have made the 
danger still greater. 



irati, superbia recentis victoriae, et metu tanquam alias partes 
fovissent. Tarde a Nerone desciverant ; nee statim pro Galba 6 
Verginius. An imperare voluisset, dubium : delatum ei a 7 
milite imperium conveniebat. Fonteium Capitonem occisum 
etiam qui queri non poterant, tamen indignabantur. Dux 8 
deerat, abducto Verginio per simulationem amicitiae ; quern 
non remitti atque etiam reum esse tanquam suum crimen 
9 accipiebant. Superior exercitus legatum Hordeonium Flaccum 
spernebat, senecta ac debilitate pedum invalidum, sine con- 
stantly sine auctoritate, ne quieto quidem milite regimen: 
adeo furentes infirmitate retinentis ultro accendebantur. 
Inferioris Germaniae legiones diutius sine consulari fuere, 2 
donee missu Galbae A. Vitellius aderat, censoris Vitellii 
ac ter consulis filius : id satis videbatur. In Britannico 3 

alias partes] * Another,' * a dif- 
ferent side,' not 'the other/ 'the 
opposite,' which would have been 
alieras, and would not have suited 
the facts so well. 

6 Verginius] Does Tacitus mean, 
by the emphatic position of the 
name, to hint that the soldiers took 
up the cause of Galba before their 
commander ? It was believed that 
the collision with Vindex's army was 
accidental, or due to the soldiers 
being still attached to Nero, the 
generals having agreed between 
themselves to co-operate. Yet Ver- 
ginius in his own epitaph seems to 
claim credit for the defeat of Vindex 
as one of his acts of loyalty, no less 
than the refusal to use the victory 
for selfish ends — 

' Hie situs est Rufus > pulso qui Vhidice 

Imperium assertcit non sibi sed patriae. 7 

8 reum esse] Tacitus does not 
mean that he was in serious danger 
of a criminal charge, only that he 
was treated as ' suspect. ' 

accipiebant] Apparently in a 

double sense, 'heard of the fact, 
and ' took it ' as a blame to them- 

suum crimen] As though they 
themselves were included in the 
charge against him. 

Or. IX. 1 regimen] For the 
concrete use, cf. Liv. iv. 31, where 
regimen rerum . . . peteretur = ' a 
commander be selected. " 

adeo] Common enough, though 
only post-Augustan, after either 
-quoque or ne . . . quidem in the 
sense of ' much less ' or * much 
more;' here it becomes almost 
synonymous with the ultro that 
follows. ' Unable to manage even 
peaceable troops, now, when their 
passions were roused, the weakness 
of the man whose duty it was to 
restrain them inflamed them all " 
the more. ' 

2 id satis videbatur] Vitellius 
was a poor enough consular himself 
(he had been consul in A. D. 48, the 
year of his father's censorship, iii. 
86. I, Ann. xl 2^. 1), but his 
father's distinction made it seem 
that he would do. 


exercitu nihil irarum : non sane aliae legiories per omnes 
civilium bellorum motus innocentius egerunt, seu quia procul 
et Oceano divisae, seu crebris expeditionibus doctae hostem 
potius odisse. Quies et Illyrico, quanquam excitae a Nerone 4 
legiones, dura in Italia cunctantur, Verginium legationibus 
adissent. Sed longis spatiis ^discreti exercitus, quod salu- 5 
berrimum est ad continendam militarem fidem, nee vitiis 
IO nee viribus miscebantur. Oriens adhuc immotus. Suriam 
et quattuor legiones obtinebat Licinius Mucianus, vir secundis 
adversisque juxta famosus. Insignes amicitias juvenis ambitiose 2 
coluerat; mox attritis opibus, lubrico statu, suspecta etiam 
Ciaudii iracundia, in secretum Asiae repositus tarn prope ab 
exsule fuit quam postea a principe. Luxuria, industria, 3 
comitate, adrogantia, malis bonisque artibus mixtus. Nimiae 
yoluptates, cum vacaret : quotiens expedierat, magnae virtutes. 
Palam laudares : secreta male audiebant. Sed apud subjectos, 4 
apud proximos, apud collegas variis illecebris potens : et cui 

3 doctae] Probably a real parti- from;' the construction, common 

ciple, not a perfect indicative with enough in the literal local sense, is 

the auxiliary suppressed. The verb less so in the transferred, 

to be supplied with quia is egerunt. 3 quotiens expedierat] ' When- 

Ch. X. 1. famosus seems to ever there was occasion for them.' 

have about as pronounced a bad The Latin is ambiguous, just as the 

sense as * notorious ' in English. suggested English equivalent is ; it 

From what follows, it is plain may mean that Mucianus showed 

Tacitus does not mean that he dis- great qualities, either when it was 

graced himself under all changes of for his interest, or when circum- 

circumstances, but that he distin- stances made it easy. Expeditius 

guished himself (not exactly credit- in § 4 perhaps supports the latter 

ably) under all. interpretation. It seems too harsh 

2 amtatiose] See note on i. 1. 3. to give it the rare sense (found how- 

repositus] Apparently the retire- ever at &>. 2), i when he was on active 

ment was ostensibly voluntary, yet service.' 

is hardly one of the verbs 4 Palam laudares cannot mean, 

whose passive has naturally a reflex- ' You would praise his public con-^ 

ive force. So perhaps the use of duct,' in spite of the antithesis, 

the passive implies he had received Rather, ' He. was a man you would 

a hint that he had better retire; praise openly, ' not only because he 

perhaps one might translate it, ' put was too influential for his faults to 

on one side,' * put out of the way.' be mentioned as openly as his good 

tam prope at)] 'As little removed qualities, but because tne\faults, 



expeditius fuerit tradere imperium quam obtinere. Bellum 5 
Judaicum Flavius Vespasianus (ducem eum Nero delegerat,) 
tribus legionibus administrabat. Nee Vespasiano adversus 6 
Galbam votum aut animus : quippe Titum filium ad venera- 
tionem culturnque ejus miserat, ut suo loco memorabimus. 
Occulta fati et ostentis ac responsis destinatum Vespasiano 7 
1 1 liberisque ejus imperium post fortunam credidimus. yEgyptum 
copiasque, quibus coerceretur, jam inde a divo Augusto equites 
Romani obtinent loco regum : ija visum expedire, provinciam 
aditu difficilem, annonae fecundam, superstitione ac lascivia 
discordem et mobilem, insciam legum, ignaram magistratuum, 
domi retinere. Regebat turn Tiberius Alexander, ejusdem 2 
nationis. Africa ac legiones in ea, interfecto Clodio Macro, 
contenta qualicunque principe post experimentum domini 
minoris. Duae Mauritaniae, Raetia, Noricum, Thracia et 3 
quae aliae procuratoribus cohibentur, ut cuique exercitui 

though real, were too vague and too 
well concealed to be talked about 

expeditius] Virtually the comp. 
of the quasi-adverb in expedito ; 
expedites is rarely used as a quality 
of the action ' ready to hand. ' 

6 votum aut animus] Definite 
wish to overthrow him in his own in- 
terest, or general ill-will that would 
be glad to see him overthrown. 

suo loco, ii. 1. 2. 

7 Occulta fati] See ii. 78. 

Ch. XI. 1 coerceretur] 'The 
forces to control it,' the tense being 
probably determined by the fact that 
it had not actually called for armed 
control. Or one might say that 
jam inde . . . obtinent is virtually 
equivalent to a perfect. 

loco regum . . . domi retinere] 
It was under a personal and a 
localized government ; aditu diffi- 
cilem, annonae fecundam, account 
for the necessity of the latter, super- 
stitione . . . mobilem, insciam legum, 
ignaram magistratuum, of the for- 

mer ; leges and magistrates being 
the powers that hold, in western 
civilisation, the position for which 
Egypt needs a de facto king. Domi 
is understood by Or. and others, 
' per procuratores Caesaris;' but the 
sense ' on the spot ' seems, as 
above explained, to suit the context 

2 ejusdem nationis] Natio is 
almost always used in a contemptuous 
sense, of what does not deserve to 
be called a gens or populus. Alex- 
ander was a Jew by race, in fact a 
nephew of Philo, but had, Josephus 
tells us, abjured the Jewish religion. 
Tacitus must mean only that he 
was an Egyptian by birthplace. 

legiones] There was only one, 
excepting the troops raised by Macer 

domini minoris] ' A despot on v 
a lesser scale ; ' the emperor was 
less absolute, and his tyranny (if he 
was tyrannical) would be diffused 
over a wider space. 

3 procuratoribus] These less 


vicinae, ita in favorem aut odium contactu valentiorum 
agebantur. Inermes provinciae atque ipsa in primis Italia, 4 
cuicunque servitio exposita, in pretium belli cessurae erant. 
Hie fuit rerum Roman arum status, cum Servius Galba iterum 5 
Titus Vinius consules inchoavere annum sibi ultimum, rei 
publicae prope supremum. 
1 2 Paucis post "Kalendas Januarias dlebus Pompeii Propinqui 
procuratoris e Belgica litterae adferuntur, superioris Germaniae 
legionesruptasacramenti reverentia imperatorem alium flagitare, 
et senatui ac populo Romano arbitrium eligendi permittere, 
quo seditio mollius acciperetur. Maturavit ea res consilium 2 
Galbae jam pridem de adoptione secum et cum proximis 
agitantis. Non sane crebrior tota civitate sermo per illos 3 
menses fuerat, primum licentia ac libidine talia loquendi, dein 
fessa jam aetate Galbae. Paucis judicium aut rei publicae 4 
amor : multi stulta spe, prout quis amicus vel cliens, hunc vel 
ilium ambitiosis rumoribus destinabant, etiam in Titi Vinii 
odium, qui in dies quanto potentior, eodem actu invisior erat. 

important provinces were governed armies in both German provinces 

by procuratores locopraesidis, usually had revolted, 

men of equestrian rank, and not to senatui ac populo Romano, i. 

be confounded with the procurators 56. 3, 57. 3] It was a professed 

Jzsci, usually freedmen, at any rate a return to the policy of Verginius ; 

much lower magistracy. with the important difference that 

4 in primis] With a certain Galba had now been recognised by 
irony. Italy was now no more than the Senate. 

a province, and the most helpless of 3 per illos menses] Since Nero's 

all. death and Galba' s unopposed pro- 

in pretium . . . cessurae] So clamation in the previous June. But 

we have in praemia cessuros, 70. 4, he had been hardly a month in 

' would fall in as a part of the re- Rome. 

ward.' In Ann. xi. 35. 2, in pretium fessa jam aetate G.] We have 

probri cesdsse is, * had come to be the same construction in Ann. i. 46. 

accounted a shame.' 3, else fessus aetate as an epithet of 

5 ultimum . . . supremum] So the person is commoner. 

far as there is any difference it will 4 prout . . . cliens] 'According 
be that ultimum is simply ' the as each (of the talkers) was a friend 
latest, ' supremum ' the concluding, or dependant (of this or that can- 
winding up. ' didate). ' 

Ch. XII. 1 superioris Germaniae] eodem actu] The same impulse 

Explained by i. 50. 1 ; in fact, the pushed him into power and into 



Quippe hiantes in magna fortuna amicorum cupiditates ipsa 5 
Galbae facilitas intendebat, cum apud infirm urn et credulum 
1$ minore metu et majore praemio peccaretur. Potentia princi- 
patus divisa in Titum Vinium consulem et Cornelium Laconem 
praetorii praefectum. Nee minor gratia Icelo Galbae liberto, 2 
quern anulis donatum equestri nomine Marcianum vocitabant. 
Hi discordes, et rebus minoribus sibi quisque tendentes, circa 3 
consilium eligendi successoris in duas factiones scindebantur. 
Vinius pro M. Othone : Laco atque Icelus consensu non tarn 4 
unum aliquem fovebant quam alium. Neque erat Galbae 5 
ignota Othonis ac Titi Vinii amicitia ; et rumoribus nihil 
silentio transmittentium, (quia Viniq vidua filia, caelebs Otho,) 
gener ac socer destinabantur. Credo et rei publicae curam 6 
subisse, frustra a , Nerone translatae, si apud Othonem relin- 

unpopularity. The conjecture anctu 
is rightly rejected by Orelli. 

5 intendebat] As we say, 'inten- 
sified ; ' perhaps gave an aim as 
well as an impetus, like arcum in- 

Ch. XIII. I et] Omitted by the 
MS., and the asyndeton though 
harsh is perhaps not impossible. 
We have regularly Ser. Galba T. 
Vinius consules, and the like ; and 
Tacitus might conceive Vinius and 
Laco as in a sense colleagues, 
occupying the two places next to 
the Emperor. In the case of two 
offices habitually mentioned together 
{e.g. a dictator and magisier equitum) 
the omission would be probable. 

2 equestri nomine] His official 
name would naturally have been 
Ser. Sulpicius Icelus ; but he would 
have continued to be called by the 
Greek name at the end, which would 
have reminded every one of his 
origin, and this was undesirable in 
the case of an eques Romanus. So 
no doubt he was called Ser. Sulpi- 
cius Marcianus — as though he had 
been born in one noble Roman 

house, and adopted into another. 
There is no knowing what deter- 
mined the choice of the name — per- 
haps Galba had inherited him from 
a Marcius. 

3 sibi quisque . . . duas] About 
other things there were three parties, 
about this two ; while the momen- 
tary co-operation of Laco and Icelus 
did not go beyond opposing Vinius. 

5 Neque . . . et] Galba was on 
these accounts afraid that the choice 
of Otho would make Vinius too 

vidua filia] The Crispina of i. 
47. 4, mentioned also i. 72. 4. 

caelebs] Without a wife at 
present : viduus is rarely used sub- 
stantially, or in the distinctive 
sense of a widower. And besides, 
Tacitus regards his marriage with 
Poppaea as merely nominal. 

6 Credo et . . . subisse] Be- 
sides the jealousy of Vinius already 

, suggested, patriotic motives may 
have gone for something m. Galba's 
own mind, but the credo hints, not 
for as much as Galba's reputation 
would promise. 



queretur, Namque Otho pueritiam incuriose, adolescentiam 7 
petulanter egerat, gratus Neroni aemulatione luxus. Eoque 8 
jam Poppaeam Sabinam, principale scortum, ut apud conscium 
libidinum, deposuerat, donee Octaviam uxorem amoliretur. 
Mox suspectum in eadem Poppaea in provinciam Lusitaniam 
specie legationis seposuit. Otho comiter administrata pro- 10 
vincia primus in partes transgressus, nee segnis, et donee 
bellum fuit, inter praesentes splendidissimus, spem adoptionis 
statim conceptam acrius in dies rapiebat, faventibus plerisque 
I 4 militum, prona in eum aula Neronis ut similem. Sed Galba 
post nuntios Germanicae seditionis, quanquam nihil adhuc de 
Vitellio certum, anxius quonam exercituum vis erumperet, ne 
urbano quidem militi confisus, quod remedium unicum rebatur, 
comitia imperii transigit ; adhibitoque super Vinium ac 
Laconem Mario Celso consule designato ac Ducenio Gemino 
praefecto urbis, pauca praefatus de sua senectute, Pisonem 
Licinianum accersi jubet, seu propria electione, sive (ut quidam 

7 incuriose may be ' a neglected in partes transgressus] Used 
childhood,' as Church and Brodribb: especially of taking the side of re- 
but perhaps rather 'heedlessly,' volution. 

without caring what he did or might Ch. XIV. 1 Germanicae . . . 

be supposed to do. de Vitellio] Of course if the troops 

8 jam] Exactly i.q. 87] ; 'and had only asserted the right of the 
this was why.' Senate to determine the govern - 

principale] 'The imperial,' ment, they could not have held out 

though it would be just possible to against their persistence in the ex- 

take it 'reigning mistress.' But isting one. The movement became 

the sense is determined by princi- more dangerous when they produced 

pedis matrimonii in i. 22. 2. a candidate for empire of their 

deposuerat] In the Annals Taci- own. 
tus tells the story differently, that quod] The antecedent is the 

Otho seduced and then married clause that follows. 
Poppaea, then that she became comitia imperii] One may doubt 

Nero's mistress with her husband's whether Tacitus means that Galba 

knowledge, and then was divorced honestly tried to carry on the mon- 

by him that she might marry Nero. archy in a republican spirit, or to 

9] The case provoked the epigram, point to the unreality of affecting 

' Cur Otho mentito sit, quaeritis, exul to do SO : transigit supports the 

honore? latter view. 'He despatches the 

Uxoris moechus coefierat esse suae? business of electing an emperor' by 

10 comiter] In a conciliatory a hole-and-corner family arrange- 

spirit— to the negotiators or the ment, without consulting the people, 

provincials ? or even the Senate. 


crediderunt,) Lacone instante, cui apud Rubellium Plautum 

^exercita cum Pisone amicitia: sed callide ut ignotum fovebat, 

,et prospera de Pisone fama eonsilio ejus fidem addiderat. 

Piso M. Crasso et Scribonia genitus, nobilis utrinque, voltu 2 

accersi] M. has accersiri, which is unknown, but was doubtless a 

Ritter defends. It is likely that relation ; his own father had the 

a copyist, and not likely that Tacitus, Pisonian agnomen of Frugi. He 

should have got entangled in the perhaps got that name, and his 

same false analogies as St. Augustine sons those of Magnus and Scri- 

{Efi. iii. 5, * cupi an cupiri^ tu vi- bonianus, not by adoption, but 

derisS etc.) from the custom of distinguishing 

Rubellium Plautum] Ann. xiii. brothers by different cognomina se- 

19. 3, xiv. 22, 57 sqq., Juv. viii. lected from those of their ancestors. 

39 sqq. Four in a family (and that a noble 

2. genitus] The word is used one) were an unusual tax on name- 
because films would have been fanciers ; when a couple was satis- 
ambiguous. From the form of his fled with two the elder usually took 
name we see he had been adopted the father's cognomen and the 
once already. His adoptive father younger the mother's : e.g. 

M. Livius Drusus.. 
Tib. Claudius Nero = Li via. 

Tib. Claudius Nero-. Tib. Claudius Drusus. 

T. Flavius Sabinus = Vespasia. 

1 I . 

T. Flavius Sabinus. T. Flavius Vespasianus = Domitia. 

! I 

T. Flavius Vespasianus. T. Flavius Domitianus. 

One may guess therefore that Crassus was the eldest, Scribonianus the 
next ; Magnus must have been at any rate a good deal older than Piso, to 
have held his position in Claudius's reign. The pedigree was appa- 
rently : — 

M. Licinius Crassus (Triumvir) = Tertulla. 

Mfctella = M. Licinius Crassus. P. Licinius Crassus, Cn. Pompcius Magnus. 

M. Licinius Crassus (Calpurnius Piso Frugi?). Sex. Pompeius Magnus. 

(Consul B.C. 30). j I I 

M. Licinius Crassus ( = Calpurnia?) Scribonius Libo = Pompeia. 

(Consul B.C. 14). j I 

M. Licinius Crassus Frugi = Scribonia. 

{A nn. iv. 62. 1). j 

I " I 'J 

Sulpicia Praetextata — (M ?) Licinius (M.?) Licinius Cn. Pompeius Magnus. ^ Piso 

I Crassus. Scribonianus. Licinianus. 

(Called Crassus, 

! Hist. iv. 39. 4) 

Quattuor Libcri, Hist. iv. 4 2 - 2. 


habituque moris antiqui, et aestimatione recta seyerus, detenus 
interpretantibus tristior habebatur. Ea pars morum ejus quo 3 
1 5 suspectior sollicitis, adoptanti placebat. Igitur Galba, adpre- 
hensa Pisonis manu, in hunc modum locutus fertur : — ' Si te 
privatus lege curiata apud pontinces, ut moris est, adoptarem, 
et mihi egregium erat Cn. Pompeii et M. Crassi subolem in 
penates meos adsciscere, et tibi insigne Sulpiciae ac Lutatiae 
decora nobilitati tuae adjecisse. Nunc me deorum homin- 2 
um que consensu ad imperium vocatum praeclara indoles tua 
et amor patriae impulit, ut principatum, de quo majores nostri 
armis certabant, bello adeptus quiescenti ofFeram, exemplo 
divi Augusti, qui sororis nliurn Marcellum, dein generum 
Agrippam, mox nepotes suos, postremo Tiberium Neronem 
privignum in proximo sibi fastigio collocavit. Sed Augustus 3 
in domo successorem quaesivit, ego in re publica, non quia 
propinquos aut socios belli non habeam : sed neque ipse 
imperium ambitione accepi, et judicii mei documentum sint 
non meae tan turn necessitudines, quas tibi postposui, sed et 

Ch. XV. 1] Galba perhaps held called Mummia A chaica after another 
himself dispensed from these forma- distinguished ancestor, 
lities — as Pontifex Maximus from 2 Nunc . . . vocatum] The 
the presence of his colleagues, as sentiment is, ' If I were a private 
chief of the state from the (long man I might well select you for my 
since merely formal) assent of the heir on family grounds : as it is, I 
representatives of the born citizens ; am bound to do so on public. ' 
though Augustus at the adoption amor patriae does not go with „ 
of his grandsons had scrupulously tua, but means Galba's own. 
observed all the antiquarian cere- majores nostri] Galba's great- 
monies. As Galba was of an old grandfather had served under Caesar 
patrician house, the mention of a against Pompey — though he was 
lex curiata in his case throws no said to be one of the conspira- 
light on the vexed question whether tors against Caesar, and certainly 
the curiae were to the last ex- fought in the senatorial army at 
clusively patrician bodies. Mutina. 

egregium erat] The past in- 3 socios belli alludes to Otho. 

dicative of what is not the case, judicii . . . documentum] <A 

like dignus eram in the following proof of my deliberate action. ' - It 

chapter. could scarcely be said to prove 

Lutatiae] Sc. nobilitatis. Gal- that his judgment was sound, but 

ba's mother was the daughter of a it proved that it had been exer- 

Lutatius Catulus, though herself cised. 


tuae. Est tibi frater pari nobilitate, natu major, dignus hac 
fortuna, nisi tu potior esses. Ea aetas tua, quae cupiditates 4 
adulescentiae jam effugerit ; ea vita, in qua nihil praeteritum 
excusandum habeas. Fortunam adhuc tantum adversam 5 
tulisti : secundae re's acrioribus stimulis animos explorant, 
quia miseriae tolerantur, felicitate corrumpimur. Fidem, 6 
libertatem, amicitiam, praecipua humani animi bona, tu 
quidem eadem constantia retinebis, sed alii per obsequium 
imminuent. Inrumpet .adulatio, blanditiae, pessimum veri 7 
affectus venenum, sua cuique utilitas. Et jam ego ac tu 8 
simplicissime inter nos hodie loquimur : ceteri libentius cum 
fortuna nostra quam nobiscum. Nam suadere principi quod 9 
oporteat, multi laboris : adseritatio erga quemcunque principem 
1 6 sine affectu peragitur. Si inmensum imperii corpus stare ac 
librari sine rectore posset, dignus eram a quo res publica 
inciperet : nunc eo necessitatis jam pridem ventum est, ut nee 
mea senectus conferre plus populo Romano possit quam bonum 
successorem, nee tua plus juventa quam bonum principem. 
Sub Tiberio et Gaio et Claudio unius familiae quasi hereditas 2 
fuimus : loco libertatis erit quod eligi coepimus. Et fmita 3 

frater] Scribonianus, i. 47. 8. Ch. XVI. 1 res publica] ' The 

He was unambitious, and Tacitus national government' here comes 

evidently respects him, iv. 39. 4. very near to ' the popular govem- 

4 aetas tua] 31, I.e. ment' or 'republic ;' see on i. I. 2. 

5 Fortunam . . . adversam] mea senectus] He means chiefly, 
The death of his two brothers and that he will not hold power long, 
his own exile. so that the choice of a successor 

7 pessimum . . . utilitas] It will be his most important act ; but 
is scarcely possible to maintain in perhaps Tacitus means him to ex- 
translation the form of the apposi- press an uneasy sense that he was 
tion without inverting its terms : too old to be a thoroughly good 
' personal self-interest, that worst emperor in his own person. 

of poisons to true affection.' possit] A correction for posset. 

8 Et jam] Rightly written by Tacitus would have put potuerit if 
most editors as two words: 'Hence- he had meant to use the tense ap- 
forth, while you and I are to-day propriate to the first clause only, 
frank with each other, no one else possit is necessary if it is to suit both, 
will be frank with us ; they will 2 fuimus . . . coepimus] Galba 
deal, not as with Galba or Piso, speaks, first in the character of a 
but as with an emperor — reigning citizen in' the state that had accepted 
or dethroned.' one master after another, then as a 



Juliorum Claudiorumque domo optimum quemque adoptiq 
inveniet. Nam generari et nasci a principibus fortuitum, nee 4 
ultra aestimatur : adoptandi judicium integrum ; et si velis 
eligere, consensu monstratur. Sit ante oculos Nero, quern 5 
longa Caesarum serie tumentem non Vindex cum inermi 
provincia aut ego cum una legione, sed sua immanitas, sua 
luxuria cervicibus publicis depulerunt ; neque erat adhuc 
damnati principis exemplum. Nos bello et ab aestimantibus 6 
adsciti cum invidia, quamvis egregii, erimus. Ne tamen territus 
fueris, si duae legiones in hoc concussi orbis motu nondum quies- 
cunt. Ne ipse quidem ad securas res accessi ; et audita adop- 7 
tione desinam videri senex, quod nunc mihi unum obicitur. 
Nero a pessimo quoque semper desiderabitur : mihi ac tibi 8 
providendum est ne etiam a bonis desideretur. Monere diutius 9 

member of the imperial order. In 
the last there is a little of the pride 
that apes humility : * We poor 
emperors are a necessary evil ; but 
a less one, now that we are ap- 
pointed by merit.' In the next 
section he includes Piso, as well as 
himself, in the commendation im- 
plied by the new system. Galba 
(or Tacitus) is as uncertain as the 
reader whether loco libertatis erit 
means 'it will count for liberty,' or 
' it will do instead of liberty. ' 

eligi does not imply popular 
election (the word for which is creare), 
but only selection, on whose part 
soever. Hence in § 4 it is applied 
even to this case of adoption. 

4 integrum] ' There is nothing 
to prejudice one's judgment in . . .' 
Galba himself had long been a 
childless widower; he forgets the 
likelihood £hat Piso, if he had 
lived, would have left sons. And 
Claudius had been blamed for 
superseding his own son by the 
adoption of Nero, — though to be 
sure Tiberius had been blamed for 
not superseding his own son more 
completely in favour of Germanicus. 

et si velis . . . monstratur] 

' If you (not Piso, but impersonally) 
wish to choose your successor, public 
opinion will mark him out for you. ' 

5 cervicibus] It is not quite 
clear whether the image is that of 
shaking off a yoke or a rider. This 
word is more appropriate to the 
former ; the personal object rather 
suggests the latter. 

damnati principis] 'Of the 
judicial condemnation of an em- 
peror. ' The Senate formally voted 
that Nero should be punished more 
majortwi, i.e. beaten to death, — 
the announcement of which prospect 
was needed to nerve him to suicide. 

6 bello, like me ; ab aestiman- 
tibus, like you. Nero, he means, 
was less exposed to envy, because 
he had not former equals to envy 
him. His was therefore an extreme 
case, in proof that power cannot be 
retained without merit. 

7 videri] 'To be thought,' not 
' to think one self. ' 

8] The first four years of Nero's 
reign were confessedly the happiest 
period the empire had yet seen, 
consequently, no one who remem- 


neque temporis hujus, et impletum est omne consilium si te 
bene elegi. Utilissimus idem ac brevissimus bonarum mala- 10 
rum que rerum delectus est, cogitare quid auLvolueris sub alio 
principe aut nolueris. Neque enim hie, ut gentibus quae 1 1 
regnantur, certa dominorum domus et ceteri servi : sed 
imperaturus es hominibus qui nee totam servitutem pati 
possunt nee totam libertatem / Et Galba quidem haec ac 12 
talia, tanquam principem faceret, ceteri tanquam cum facto 

1 7 loquebantur. Pisonem ferunt statim intuentibus, et mox con- 
jectis in eum omnium oculis, nullum turbati aut exsultantis 
animimotum prodidisse. Sermo erga patrem imperatoremque 2 
reverens, de se moderatus; -nihil in voltu habituque mutatum, 

- quasi imperare posset magis quam vellet. Consultatum inde, 3 
-pro Rostris an in senatu an in castris adoptio nuncuparetur. 
Xri in castra placuit : honorificum id militibus fore, quorum 
favorem ut largitione et ambitu male adquiri, ita per bonas 
artes haud spernendum. Circumsteterat interim Palatium 4 
publica exspectatio, magni secreti inpatiens ; et male coercitam 

1 8 famam supprimentes augebant. Quartum Idus Januarias, 

bered them would find his memory 3 nuncuparetur] The word used 

unmixedly bad. of any formal, technical, or official 

10 delectus seems here to be statement, 

less the act than the principle of per bonas artes] One might 

selection ; the least dissimilar pas- supply adquisitum from adquiri, but 

sage quoted is Cic. Verr. ii. 2. 50, it is better to repeat adquiri, and 

123, * omnium reru??i delectum ac take haud spernendum as a pre- 

discrimen pecunia sustulisset.' dicate balancing male: 'the gaining 

12] Galba treated Piso as not of whose favour by bribery and 
emperor yet, and therefore not corruption was ill done, but by 
beyond the reach of good advice, honourable means was not a thing 
at least from himself, who was to be despised.' 
actual emperor. The rest lost no 4 publica exspectatio] One 
time in paying their court to Piso, should translate the abstract ex- 
treating him as emperor already, not pression as it stands, but of course 
only the emperor's heir. circumsteterat applies more pro- 

Ch. XVII. 1 statim . . . oculis] perly to the concrete ' expectant 

Neither to the four people (i. 14. 1) public' than to the public expec- 

present at the adoption, nor to the tation. 

army, on his public appearance to male coercitam . . . augebant] 

them. ' The report,' the true one, namely, 



foedum imbribus diem, tonitrua et fulgura et caelestes minae 
ultra solitum turbaverant. , Observation id antiquitus comitiis 2 
dirimendis non terruit Galbam quo minus in castra pergeret, 
contemptorem talium ut fortuitorum ; seu quae fato manent, 
quamvis'significata, non vitantur. Apud frequentem militum 3 
contionem, imperatoria brevitate, adoptari a se Pisonem more 
divi Augusti et exemplo militari, quo vir virum legeret, pro- 
nuntiat. Acne dissimulata seditio in majus crederetur, ultro 4 
adseverat quartam et duoetvicesimam legiones, paucis sedi- 
tionis auctoribus, non ultra verba ac voces errasse, et brevi in 
officio fore. Nee ullum orationi aut lenocinium addit aut 5 
pretium. Tribuni tamen centurionesque et proximi militum 
grata auditu respondent : per ceteros maestitia ac silentium, 
tanquam usurpatam etiam in pace donativi necessitatem bello 

that Piso was chosen, * which they 
had failed to repress, they/ the 
camarilla officially acquainted with 
it, * spread all the more by trying 
to crush it. ' 

Ch. XVIII. 1 ultra solitum] 
For of course some bad weather 
was to be looked for at that time of 
year. And in a Mediterranean 
climate, thunder in January would 
be no more surprising than rain; 
see Hdt. iv. 28. 3, 4. 

2 comitiis dirimendis] Of course 
it was natural, assemblies being in 
the open air; the origin was not 
superstitious, only if the weather 
interrupted an assembly, it was 
natural to suppose that the gods 
meant it to be interrupted. Galba 
ought, Tacitus thinks, to have 
treated so important an adoption as 
official public business, transacted 
with the nation in its constitutional 
assembly. If he had made the 
announcement pro rostris, it perhaps 
would technically have been so ; 
but the Praetorians cannot have 
formed a comiiia centuriata as the 
old civic army did. And Galba 
thought that soldiers ought not to 

mind the weather when their com- 
mander called them. For the 
concluding sentiment, cf. Ann, 
vi. 22 ; it may be a question whether 
the - doubt is Galba' s or Tacitus's 
own, i.e. whether seu . . . vitantur 
is an alternative to ut fortuitorum or 
to contemptorem talium; probably 
the latter. 

imperatoria] Like a general 
giving orders to his soldiers, not a 
magistrate conducting an official 

3 quo vir virum legeret] A 
technical phrase, of a man choosing 
a comrade for a special (usually a 
hazardous) service ; Cic. Mil. xxi. 55, 
Liv. ix. 39, x. 38. 

4 duoetvicesimam] Not duo- 
devicesimam ; the 18th legion was 
one of those destroyed with Varus, 
and it would have been held un- 
lucky to call a newly raised one by the 
same name. This legion was the 22d 
Primigenia ; there was also another 
22d Deiotarina, now stationed (v. 1. 
3) at Alexandria. 

5 usurpatam . . . necessitatem] 
Which precedent had established 
as a matter of course. 


perdidissent. Constat potuisse conciliari animos quantula- 
cunque parci senis liberalitate : nocuit antiquus rigor et nimia 
19 severitas, cui jam pares non sumus. Inde apud senatum non 
comptior Galbae, non longior quam apud militem sermo : 
Pisonis comis oratio. Et patrum favor aderat : multi voluntate 2 
effusius ; qui noluerant, medie ; ac plurimi obvio obsequio, 
privatas spes agitantes sine publica cura. Nee aliud sequenti 3 
quatriduo (quod medium inter adoptionem et caedcrq fait,) 
dictum a Pisone in publico factumve. Crebrioribus in dies 4 
Germanicae defectionis nuntiis, et facili ciyitate ad accipienda 
credendaque omnia nova, cum tristia sunt, censuerant patres 
mittendos ad Germanicum exercitum legatos. Agitatum se- 5 
creto num et Piso proficisceretur, majore praetextu, illi auctori- 
tatem senatus, hie dignationem Caesaris laturns. Placebat et 6 
Laconem praetorii praefectum simul mitti : is consilio inter- 
cessit. Legati quoque (nam senatus electionem Galbae per- 
miserat,) - foeda inconstantia nominati, excusati, substituti, 
ambitu remanendi aut eundi, ut quemque metus vel spes 

Ch. XIX. 1 sermo] He affected should have to alter the reading of 

military bluntness ; it was a talk, the next words — perhaps medii in- 

not a speech. stead of medie, which does not else- 

Et . . . aderat] There were two where occur till Appuleius. Else 

reasons why the announcement was the passage reads most like Tacitus 

better received : Piso spoke as well as it stands. 

as Galba, and was more courteous 3 quatriduo] The nth to the 
to his hearers, and their hearers had 15th (i. 27. 1). 
cause either to be or to seem more 5 majore praetextu] ' To height- 
friendly, en its show of dignity : " exactly = 

2 multi . . . obsequio] So Or. /xstcl (xei^ovos irpoax^aros. 
punctuates, making those who had illi] Attracted into the care 
opposed Piso .more eager in their of hie, because, in a lax sense, it 
congratulation than those who gave might be called in apposition with 
only the commonplaces of flattery, it ; the verb proficiscerentur is 
but less so than his sincere well- readily supplied with the one pro- 
wishers. Voluntate effusius can noun, from that expressed with 
hardly mean ' with more effusion the other. 

than sincerity,' for this would spoil 6 consilio] Prob. the dative, 

the antithesis to qui noluerant. Per- ' vetoed the proposal,' else we might 

haps, indeed, this gains most force make it, ' took too good care of 

. if we punctuate multi voluntate : himself to let the scheme pass. ' 
effusius qui noluerant : but then we ambitu . . . inpulerat] ' Each 



20 inpulerat. Proxima pecuniae cura ; et cuncta scrutantibus 
justissimum visum est inde repeti ubi inopiae causa erat. Bis 2 
et vicies milies sestertium donationibus Nero effuderat. 
Appellari singulos jussit, decuma parte liberalitatis apud quem- 
que eorum relicta. At illis vix decumae super portiones erant, 
isdem erga aliena sumptibus quibus sua prodegerant, cum 
rapacissimo cuique ac perditissimo non agri aut fenus, sed 
sola instrumenta yitiorum manerent. Exactioni triginta equites 
Romani praepositi, novum officii genus et ambitu. ac numero 
onerosum. Ubique hasta et sector, et inquieta urbs actionibus. 
Ac tamen grande gaudium, quod tarn pauperes forent quibus 
donasset Nero quam quibus abstulisset. Exauctorati per eos 5 
dies tribuni, e praetorio Antonius Taurus et Antonius Naso, 

intriguing for himself to stay or to 
go, according as hope or fear was 
the stronger influence on him per- 

Ch. XX. 1 Proxima] The most 
obvious sense to an English reader 
is, 'came next,' when the question 
of the meeting in Germany was 
settled. But it is doubtful whether 
the Latin word can mean this : 
rather 'the most anxious question 
next to this was . . .' 

inde . . . ubi] Practically equi- 
valent to ab iis . . . apud quos ; but 
the measure is stated in an imper- 
sonal form, to mask its invidious- 
ness. Unde is however used with 
a distinctive personal antecedent in 
Virg. Aen. i. 6, Hor. Od. i. 12. 16, 
and even Sat. i. 6. 12, where it = 
a quo in the sense 'by whom.' 

2 Bis et vicies millies] An 
unquestionable correction for bis et 
vicies mille. Of course the cumbrous 
nomenclature of the Roman money 
of account makes textual corruptions 
still easier than they always are 
with numerals. 

3 super . . . erant] For the 
tmesis, cf. Virg. Aen, uT 567. 

aliena] Opposed to sua as ' what 
had been given them' to their 

racrimony, or perhaps more forci- 
bly, 'what belonged to other men,' 
because Nero's bounty was fed by 
confiscations, as is said expressly 
in § 5- 

fenus] ' Capital,' producing 
interest, or invested productively — a 
less common meaning than 'interest.' 
Instrumenta vitiorum. Costly show 
and luxurious houses. 

4 triginta] Suetonius says fifty. 

officii never exactly means 
' office : ' here it differs much as, 
according to Demosthenes or Ctesi- 
phon, iirifjLtXeid tls kclI diaicovia does 
fromdpx^. (Aesch. in Ct. § 13.) 

ambitu] Best taken in the usual 
sense, either of the canvassing to 
secure the charge, in hopes that 
some of the money might stick to 
the collector's fingers, or perhaps 
rather, the canvassing to which they 
were exposed, on the part of the 
possessors of grants. Else it may 
be and sometimes is taken nearer 
the etymological sense, 'through 
the wide range of their jurisdiction,' 
or ' the extent of their circuit. ' 

actionibus] So M. , and it makes 
better sense than the obvious guess, 
auctionibus, which adds nothing to 
hasta et sector. 



ex urbanis cohortibus Aemilius Pacensis, e vigiliis Julius 
Fronto. Nee remedium in ceteros fuit, sed metus initium, 6 
tatnquam per artem et formidinem singuli pellerentur omnibus 
2 I Interea Othonem, cui compositis rebus nulla spes, omne in 
turbid o consilium, multa simul exstimulabant, luxuria etiam 
principi onerosa, inopia vix privato toleranda, in Galbam ira, 
in Pisonem invidia. Fingebat et metum, quo magis concupi- 2 
sceret. Praegravem se Neroni fuisse, nee Lusitaniam rursus 
et alterius exsilii honorem exspectandum. Suspectum semper 3 
invisumque dominantibus qui proximus destinaretur. Nocuisse 
id sibi apud senem principem ; magis nociturum apud juvenem 
ingenio trucem et longo exsilio efferatum. Occidi Othonem 
posse. Proinde agendum audendumque, dum Galbae auctori- 4 
. tas fluxa, Pisonis nondum coaluisset. Opportunos magnis 5 

5] One may notice that the 
soldiers bear the names of noble 
houses, not that they belonged to 
them, but that their ancestors a 
generation or two back, possibly in 
some cases themselves, had received 
citizenship, perhaps liberty, from 
those who did. Antonii are almost 
as common as Cornelii, Julii, or 

6 remedium in] ' Did not oper- 
ate as a remedy on. ' 

per artem et formidinem] A 
process of cajolery with an object 
of intimidation. 

Ch. XXI. 1 in turoido] The 
expression is varied from that of 
compositis rebus, merely for the sake 
of variety. 

2 Fingebat] 'He feigned' to 
himself as well as others, but the 
oratio obliqua that follows is not to 
be taken as a soliloquy. 

exsilii honorem] Not merely 
'honourable exile,' i.e. disguised 
under the name of honourable office; 
but hints that to be banished was 
itself a compliment. 

3 destinaretur] Used constantly 
of popular report, as above, 13. 5. 

4 Othonem] Apparently the 
force of using the pr. n. is to point 
an antithesis with the two names 
that follow. There were three men 
in the field : of these, to murder 
Otho was so easy, that, if action 
against Galba was possible, action 
against Piso must be prompt. 

agendum] It was a state of 
things where age, aude was the right 
advice to give. 

auctoritas] Almost 'the magic 
of his name.' Of course Galba's 
imperium remained unimpaired, and 
it does not appear that Piso had 
received it. 

dum . . . coaluisset] Dum is 
often used with a simple adj. as 
predicate, where the copula (if 
supplied) would be in the usual 
tense, the pres. indie. Hence Taci- 
tus was not conscious of the want of 
a verb in the first clause ; when he 
came to pat one in the second, he 
put it in the tense it should be, if 
cum not dum had preceded. 


conatibus transitus rerum; nee cunctatione opus, ubi perni- 
ciosior sit quies quam temeritas. Mortem omnibus ex natura 6 
aequalem, oblivione apud posteros vel gloria distingui. Ac si 
nocentem innocentemque idem exitus maneat, acrioris viri 
1 2 esse merito perire. Non erat Othonis mollis et corpori similis 
animus. Et intimi libertorum servorumque, corruptius quam 
in privata domo habiti, aulam Neronis et luxus, adulteria, 
matrimonia ceterasque regnorum libidines avido talium, si 
auderet, ut sua ostentantes, quiescenti ut aliena exprobrabarit, 
urgentibus etiam mathematicis, dum novos motus et clarum 
Othoni annum observatione siderum adfirmant, genus hominum 
potentibus infidum, sperantibus fallax, quod in civitate nostra 
et vetabitur semper et retinebitur. Multos secreta Poppaeae z 
mathematicos, pessimum principalis matrimonii instrumentum, 
. habuerant ; e quibus Ptolemaeus Othoni in Hispania comes, 
cum superfuturum eum Neroni promisisset, postquam ex eventu 
fides, conjectura jam et rumore senium Galbae et juventam 
Othonis computantium persuaserat fore ut in imperium ad- 

5 transitus rerum] The last from their representations in Otho's 
sentence explains what he means : mind. 

power was passing from Galba, and vetabitur] As in Ann. ii. 32. 5, 

had not yet passed to Piso. xii. 52. 3. 

6 viri] The application of the 2 pessimum . . . instrumentum] 
word to Otho is a paradox : the Orelli and Church and Brodribb 
next sentence shows it is not alto- adopt Burnouf's translation, ' detest- 
gether an irony. able ameublement d'un menage impe- 

Ch. XXII. 1 adulteria, matri- rieL' Surely one might more naturally 

monia] With unlimited facilities take it, 'the worst element in her 

of divorce, the latter differed from preparation for securing her im- 

the former only in duration. So perial marriage.' If it had been 

Cicero reckons Clodius's wife among after her marriage with Nero that 

his usual discreditable companions, she maintained them, how could , 

Mil. x. 28. one at least have shared Otho's 

regnorum] If these were the banishment ? 
attractions of empire, the empire Ptolemaeus] Suetonius calls him 

that was characterized by them Seleucus, probably confounding him 

would be no better than an Asiatic with Vespasian's astrologer of that 

despotism. name, ii. 78. 2. 

sua] Of course, '^wown,' con- ut . . . adscisceretur] That he 

trary to strict grammatical rule. would be peaceably adopted as his 

In fact, * si auderet sua, si quiesceret colleague and successor. Tacitus half 

aliena, describes the picture formed believes that there is something in 


scisceretur. Sed Otho tanquam peritia et monitu fatorum 3 
praedicta accipiebat, cupidine ingenii humani libentius obscura 
2J credendi. Nee deerat Ptolemaeus, jam et sceleris instinctor, 
ad quod facillime ab ejusmodi voto transitur. Sed sceleris 
cogitatio incertum an repens : studia militum jam pridem spe 
successionis aut paratu facinoris adfectaverat, in i tin ere, in 
agmine. in stationibus vetustissimum quemque militum nomine 
vocans, ac memoria Neroniani comitatus contubernales appel- 
lando ; alios agnoscere, quosdam requirere, et pecunia aut 
gratia juvare, inserendo saepius querelas et ambiguos de 
Galba sermones, quaeque alia turbamenta volgi. Labores 2 
itinerum, inopia commeatuum, duritia imperii atrocius accipie- 
bantur, cum Campaniae lacus et Achaiae urbes classibus adire 
soliti Pyrenaeum et Alpes et immensa viarum spatia aegre sub 
24 armis eniterentur. Flagrantibus jam militum animis velut 
faces addiderat Maevius Pudens, e proximis Tigellini. Is 2 
mobilissimum quemque ingenio aut pecuniae indigum et in 
novas cupiditates praecipitem adliciendo, eo paulatim pro- 
astrology, but in this case lie is con- and third subdivisions of the first, 
vinced that the prediction came If a distinction is to be traced, the 
false, except so far as it brought its likeliest suggested is, that itinere is 
own fulfilment. more general, ' on the way from 

3] ' But Otho took his predictions Spain, ' while agmine specifies * on 
as coming from his science, and from the way from Spain with Galba's 
the Fates' warning.' It would be army,' from which Otho and a 
hard to make fatorum an objective few soldiers might now and then be 
genitive with peritia as well as a detached. 
• subjective with monitu. coatiibernales] 'Messmates,' — a 

Ch. XXIII. 1 jam et sceleris] less austere tone than the commilitones 
Having before held out hopes of which Galba, Piso, and even Otho 
legitimate ambition. himself adopt in formal speeches. 

incertum an] ' It is a question 2] Nero's favourite troops (the 

whether after all,' i.e. it probably Praetorians) had been taken by sea 
was not ; the Ciceronian nescio an to Greece or Campania ; Galba's 
means just the reverse. favourite troops (his old legion) had 

in itinere, in agmine, in sta- served in Spain, and when recalled 
tionifous] The rhythm proves that to Rome had had to march round 
the three clauses must be co-ordinate, by land. ' You see,' says Otho, to 
though it is so hard to .-see the dis- both Praetorians and Legionaries, 
tinction between the first two, that * whether Galba's favour or Nero's 
some have tried to make the second was better worth having.' 


gressus est ut per speciem convivii, quotiens Galba apud 
Othonem epularetur, cohorti excubias agenti viritim centenos 
nummos divideret ; quam velut publicam largitionem Otho 
secretioribus apud singulos praemiis intendebat, adeo animosus 
corruptor ut Cocceio Proculo speculator^ de parte fmium 
cum vicirio ambigenti, universum vicini agrum sua pecunia 
emptum dono dederit, per socordiam praefecti, quem nota 

25 pariter et occulta fallebant. Sed turn e libertis Onomastum 
futuro sceleri praefecit, a quo Barbium Pxoculum tesserarium 
speculatorum et Veturium optionem eorundem perductos, 
postquam vario sermone callidos audacesque cognovit, pretio 
et promissis onerat, data pecunia ad pertentandos plurium 
animos. Suscepere duoinanipulares imperium populi Romani 2 
transferendum, et transtulerunt In conscientiam facinoris 
pauci adsciti. Suspensos ceterorurn animos diversis artibus 3 
stimulant, primores militum per beneficia Nymphidii ut 
suspectos, volgus et ceteros ira et desperatione dilati toties 
donativi. Erant quos memoria Neronis ac desiderium prioris 4 
licentiae accenderet. In commune omnes metu mutandae 5 

26 militiae terrebantur. Infecit ea tabes legionum quoque et 

Ch. XXIV. 2 Speculator!] These et transtulerunt] Notice that we 

were a picked body of the Praetor- should say, ' and they did it,' while 

ians armed in the Greek manner ; in Latin you repeat the verb, 

whence Greek historians rather pauci] Perhaps only three; if 

happily call them dopv(j>6poi. Suetonius's account of jive soldiers 

praefecti] Laco, the ignavissimus being employed is to be reconciled 

mortalium of 6. 1. with Tacitus. ' 

futuro] Always in Virgil of the 3 dilati] It does not seem clear 

immediate and certain future, and whether it had been definitely 

so apparently here, ' the crime re- promised and not given ; in i. 18. 5 

solved upon. ' we are told that the withholding it 

Ch. XXV. I a quo goes with was rather quixotical than dishonest; 

perductos. Onomastus selects the and perhaps i. 37. 10 refers rather 

men and brings them to Otho, who to i. 30. 8 than to earlier pro- 

thenceforth settles with them in mises. So perhaps this word only 

person. means 'so long delayed, so many 

2 manipulares] The ' rank and opportunities for it having been 

file' include these petty officers, missed.' 

who held their places only at the 5 mutandae militae] Of being 

centurion's discretion. drafted into the legions. 


auxiiiorum motas jam mentes, postquam volgatum erat labare 
Germanici exercitus fidem. Adeoque parata apud malos 2 
seditio, etiam apud integros dissiraulatio fuit, ut postero Iduum 
[dierum] redeuntem a cena Othonem rapturi fuerint, ni incerta 
noctis et tota urbe sparsa militum t castra nee facilem inter 
temulentos consensum timuissent, non rei publicae cura, quam 
foedare principis sui sanguine sobrn parabant, sed ne per 
tenebras, ut quisque Pannonici vel Germanici exercitus militi- 
bus oblatus esset, ignorantibus plerisque, pro Othone destin- 
aretur. Multa erumpentis seditionis indicia per conscios' 
oppressa : quaedam apud Galbae aures praefectus Laco elusit, 
ignarus militarium animorum, consiliique quamvis egregii, 
quod non ipse afferret, inimicus, et adversus peritos pervicax. 
27 Octavo decimo Kalendas Februarias sacrificanti pro aede 
Apollinis Galbae haruspex Umbricius tristia exta et instantes 
insidias ac domesticum hostem praedicit, audiente Othone 
(nam proximus adstiterat), idque ut laetum e contrario et suis 

Ch. XXVI. dissimulatio] They each detachment coming frcm the 

knew of their comrades' treason, and sparsa castra would get hold of a 

combined to disguise it. false Otho of its own. 

postero Iduum dierum] So M. ; Germanici] i. 31. 8, which shows 
the copies have postero Iduum die. that the sense is, not that they were 
There can be no doubt that the afraid of making a mistake, but that 
words are corrupt, but the simple the managers of the conspiracy were 
omission of dierum hardly mends afraid they would, 
matters. The sense is clear, and the indicia] Designed ' informations,' 
only correct Latin expression of it not merely 'symptoms, indications;' 
is postridie Idus ; and though it is but oppressa is so strong a word, 
rash to limit too narrowly Tacitus 's that it rather points to men who 
freedom to use a construction that would have told Galba being re- 
is not regular Latin, he never strained by threats or force, than 
departs from the Latin spirit, and it to the mere silencing of premature 
may be said that to use the genitive expression of ill-will, 
here would. elusa] ' Caused to miss him,' 

rapturi fuerint] Stronger than properly a metaphor of warding off 

rapuissent ; not merely 'they would blows in boxing, 
have done it,' but 'they were Ch. XXVII. 1 Octavo . . . sacri- 

actually at the point of doing it. ' ficanti] It was the day of the Car- 

ut quisque probably implies mentalia, Ov. Fast. i. 617 sqq. 
that they were afraid, not merely domesticum] The way that such 

that any one who presented himself vague indications were found, of the 

should be taken for Otho, but that quarter in which evil impended; is 


cogitationibus prosperum interpretante. Nee multo post 2 
libertus Onomastus nuntiat exspectari eum ab architecto et 
redemptoribus \ quae significatio coeuntium jam militum et 
paratae conjurationis convenerat. Otho, causam digressus 3 
requirentibus, cum emi sibi praedia vetustate suspecta eoque 
prius exploranda finxisset, innixus liberto per Tiberianam 
domum in Velabrum, inde ad miliarium aureum sub aedenv 
• Saturni pergit. Ibi tres et viginti speculatores consalutatum 4 
imperatorem, ac paucitate salutantium trepidum, et sellae 
festinanter impositum strictis mucronibus rapiunt. Totidem 5 
ferme milites in itinere adgregantur, alii conseientia, plerique 
miraculo, pars clamore et gaudiis, pars silentio, animum ex 
28 eventu sumpturi. Stationem in castris agebat Julius Martialis 
tribunus. Is magnitudine subiti sceleris, an corrupta latius 
castra, et, si contra tenderet, exitium metuens, praebuit pleris- 
que suspicionem conscientiae. Anteposuere ceteri quoque 2 
tribuni centurionesque praesentia dubiis et honestis. Isque 3 
habitus animorum fuit ut pessimum facinus auderent pauci, . 
plures vellent, omnes paterentur. 

seen in Liv. viii. 9. 1 ; something while some say, not untruly, that the 

being wrong with the head of the liver singular gaudio would be more ap- 

indicated the death of the general. propriate. Harsh as is the zeugma, 

2 coeuntium . . . paratae] The the ms. reading might fairly mean 

soldiers, of whom few were in the 'with shouts and clash 'of arms.' 

conspiracy, were on their way to If this be right, we might compare 

unite, the actual conspirators were Germ. 11. 6, and see an indication 

V ready to make them act when that Roman soldiers were already 

united. either of barbarian origin 

3 emi] 'That he was in treaty barbarized by neighbourhood. The 

for the purchase,' prius, ' before strictis mucronibus of the preced- 

concluding the bargain.' So ing sentence does not prove so 

Suetonius, * quasi venal em domum much. 

inspecturus? Ch. XXVIII. 1 magnitudine 

suspecta] Probably neut. pi. . . . an . . . metuens] ' From the 

in Velabrum] This was out of greatness ... or from fear 

his way to the Praetorian camp ; he that . . . ' Both the abl. and the 

did not venture to go in that direc- partic. suggest alternative motives 

tion from Galba's presence. for his conduct. 

5 clamore et gaudiis] So most praesentia] What it was obvious 

edd. for gladUs* the reading of M. , and easy to do« 



29 Ignarus interim Galba et sacris intentus fatigabat alieni jam 
imperii deos, cum adfertur rumor rapi in castra incertum quern 
senatorem, mox, Othonem esse qui raperetur; simul ex tota 
urbe, ut quisque obvius fuerat, alii formidine augentes, quidam 
minora vero, ne turn quidem obliti adulationis. Igitur consult- 2 
antibus placuit pertentari animum cohortis quae in Palatio 
stationem agebat, nee per ipsum Galbam, cujus integra auctori- 
tas majoribus remediis servabatur. Piso pro gradibus domus 3 
vocatos in hunc mpdum adlocutus est : — " Sextus dies agitur, 
commilitones, ex quo ignarus futuri, et sive optandum hoc 
nomen sive timendum erat, Caesar adscitus sum. Quo domus 4 
nostrae aut rei publicae fato, in vestra manu positum est, non 
quia meo nomine tristiorem casum paveam, ut qui adversas 
res expertus cum maxim e discam ne secundas quidem minus 

Ch. XXIX. 1 fatigabat] He went 
on sacrificing, in hopes of better 
omens, which they persistently re- 

alieni jam imperii deos] He was 
supplicating the national gods as 
chief of the nation — which he no 
longer was. 

incertum quern] « Some senator 
unknown, 5 Church and Brodrrbb. 
They said, i rapitur nescio qui 
senator,' and again, ' Otho est qui 
rapitur:' — raperetur is subj., to 
mark that it is a paraphrase of 
the report actually made. 

2 majoribus] To meet greater 

3 pro gradibus] ~SJke pro rostris : 
it seems to go rather with adlocutus 
est than with vocatos; the words de- 
scribe at once the orator's position 
and that of his audience, by the 
direction in which he addresses them. 

sive . . . sive . . . erat must 
all form one clause, co-ordinate with 
ignarus futttri, for it is not an ad- 
missible construction if it had been 
meant to depend on ignarus. 

Caesar] If Caesar had really been 
palba-'s surname, of course Piso 

would have become a Caesar by 
the adoption ; as Tiberius had when 
adopted by Augustus, and Ger- 
manicus by Tiberius. Now, though 
Caesar was practically become a 
title, it remained a title of the im- 
perial house rather than of the in- 
dividual emperor, but, perhaps from 
the precedent of the scanty families 
of the early emperors, no one but 
the emperor and his (natural or 
adopted) heir was called by it. 
Hence as early as this time we see 
the beginning of the Diocletian 
system, whereby Caesar became 
definitely the title of the emperor's 
heir, and so opposed to Augustus, 
the actual emperor. Hadrian is 
said to have been the first, on his 
adoption of Commodus, to have 
conferred the title of Caesar without 
any other. 

4 fato] M. has fatu, probably 
intended for fatu, i.e. fatum. But 
to give a meaning to this one would 
have to give quo the scarcely pos- 
sible sense oiquare, and the sentence 
as it stands is more in Tacitus's 


. discam] * Having 


discriminis habere : patris et senatus et ipsius imperii vicem 
doleo r si nobis aut perire hodie necesse est aut, quod aeque 
apud bonos miserum est, occidere. Solatium proximi motus 
habebamus incruentam urbem et res sine discordia translatas. 
Provisum adoptione videbatur, ut ne post Galbam quidem 
30 bello locus esset Nihil adrogabo mihi nobilitatis aut modestiae. 
Neque enim relatu virtutum in comparatione Othonis opus 
est. Vitia, quibus solis gloriatur, evertere imperium, etiam 2 
cum amicum imperatoris ageret, Habitune et incessu, an illo 
muliebri ornatu mereretur imperium ? falluntur quibus luxuria 
specie liberalitatis inponit. Perdere iste sciet, donare nesciet. 
Stupra nunc et eomassationes et feminarum coetus volvit 
animo : haec principatus praemia putat, quorum libido ac 
voluptas penes ipsum sit,, rubor ac dedecus penes omnes. 
Nemo enim unquam imperium flagitio quaesitum bonis artibus 
exercuit. Galbam consensus generis humani, me Galba 5 
coiisentientibus vobis Caesarem dixit. Si res publica et 
senatus et populus vacua nomina sunt, vestra, commilitones, 

had long enough trial of adversity, speciem would be a likely one ; one 

1 am only beginning to tiry what might translate speciem imponei'e ' to 

prosperi'y is like, and find it at the palm off a show upon.' 

first taste no less trying/ 3 haec pr. praemia putat] So 

5 proximi motus] The over- supr. 22. 1. Tacitus's speeches are 

throw of Nero, and the civil war in probably not altogether imaginary ; 

Gaul. at least we may probably suppose 

Ch. XXX. 2] Piso states the that he means us to believe that 
case against Otho rather unfairly : Piso made a speech at this juncture. 
Otho had only contributed to over- But the speech he gives is the corn- 
throw Nero by helping Galba. position of one who sees the situa- 
But it might plausibly be said that tion in the light not only of Tacitus's 
Nero's overthrow came from the own remarks, but of later events, 
vices of a court of which Otho was The next sentence is not the less 
a specimen. pointed because Otho seemed likely 

amicum imperatoris ageret] Just not to verify it. 

like filium principis agebat, iv. 2. 1. 4,. 5] The connexion is, * A 

specie] M. has specie, i.e. speciem. government originated by the bad 

One may suppose that the copyist acts of bad men will have bad 

was not familiar with the construe- objects and bad results. The 

\ tion of inpono ' to impose upon,' present government began by the 

without any direct object expressed, act of the nation, and is consoli- 

but if any object were expressed, dated with the approval of loyal 


interest ne imperatorem pessimi faciant. Legionum seditio 6 
adversus duces suos audita est aliquando : vestra fides famaque 
inlaesa ad hunc diem mansit. Et Nero quoque vos destituit, 7 
non vos Neronem. Minus triginta transfugae et desertores, 
quos centurionem aut tribunum sibi eligentes nemo ferret, 
imperium adsignabunt? admittitis exemplum? et quiescendo 
commune crimen facitis ? transcendet haec licentia in pro- 
vincias ; et ad nos scelerum .exitus, bellorum ad vos pertine- 
bunt. Nee est plus quod pro caede principis quam quod 8 
innocentibus datur, sed perinde a nobis donativom ob fidem 
3 1 quam ab aliis pro facinore accipietis." Dilapsis speculatoribus, 
cetera cohors non aspernata contionantem, ut turbidis rebus 
evenit, forte magis et nullo adhuc consilio parat signa quam, 
quod postea creditum est, insidiis et simulatione. Missus' et 2 
Celsus Marius ad electos Illyrici exercitus, Vipsania in porticu 

soldiers ; if yon think nothing of 
the nation, yet consider the interest 
of your class.' 

6 Legionum] But never of 

7 Et Nero quoctue] Not even 
when you had the best excuse 
soldiers ever had for mutiny, in 
) our commander being a Nero. 

Minus triginta] Again Piso has 
read Tacitus, and knows there were 
exactly twenty-three. 
' transfugae] Desert for malice, 
desertores for sloth or cowardice, 
and so the latter, if the less criminal, 
are the more contemptible. 

centurionem . . . nemo ferret] 
In the old constitutional army, the 
tribunes of each legion were elected 
by the Comiiia. 

transcendet . . . in provincias] 
Orelli wonders that Piso forgot that 
Galba (not to mention Vitellius) 
had used this licentia already. Pro- 
bably he is thinking, not of the 
past but of the future ; and so 
prophesies, * We shall have to die, 
and you to wage a civil war. ' 

8 oh fidem ... pro facinore] 

Still affecting not to bribe them. 
The emperor would give in view of 
their good conduct as much as the 
usurper could in payment for treason. 

Ch. XXXI. 1 Dilapsis specu- 
latoribus] They had been speci- 
ally courted by Otho, supr. 24-5. 
Cocceius, as well as Bar-bins and 
Veturius, would have spread good- 
will to Otho among his comrades ; 
so that all slip away to him when 
they hear that his cause is pro- 

nullo] M. has nonirulla, which 
could hardly mean ' with some real 
purpose of action? the key- word 
being omitted. Else the mere 
omission of the negative is such 
a dangerous correction, that one is 
tempted to think Tacitus wrote non 
tino, — some meant to fight for Piso, 
some perhaps to betray him, most 
(no doubt ? as the text would say of 
all) to see what would happen and 
act accordingly. Quam seems a 
necessary insertion anyhow. 

2 electos] The numeri of 6. 5. 



tendentes. Praeceptum Amulio Sereno et Domitio Sabino 3 
primipilaribus ut Germanicos milites e Libertatis atrio accerse- 
rent. Legioni classicae diffidebat, infestae ob caedem com- 4 
militonum, quos primo statim introitu trucidaverat Galba. 
Pergunt etiam in castra praetorianorum tribuni, Cetrius Severus, 5 
Subrius Dexter, Pompeius Longinus, si incipiens adhuc et 
necdum adulta seditio melioribus consiliis flecteretur. Tribu- 6 
norum Subrium et Cetrium adorti milites minis, Longinum 
manibus coercent exarmantque, quia non ordine militiae, sed 
e Galbae amicis, fidus principi suo et desciscentibus suspectior 
erat. Legio classica nihil cunctata praetorianis adjungitur. 7 
Illyrici exercitus electi Celsum ingestis pilis proturbant. 
Germanica vexilla diu nutavere, invalidis adhuc corporibus et 8 
placatis animis, quod eos a Nerone Alexandriam praemissos 
atque inde rursus longa navigatione aegros inpensiore cura 

The word is used there also, but it 
seems to mean merely 'a selected 
force,' not in any technical sense 
'a corps d' elite* 

3 Amulio] No doubt a gentile 
name, the resemblance to the 
mythical one being perhaps acci- 
dental ; M. writes it with a double 
/. Yet mythical praenomina (like 
Julus Antonius) were not un- 

Germanicos] Of course not 
'German soldiers,' but 'of the 
army of Germany.' From the 
national name Germani is derived 
the geographical name Gemiania, 
and from this the adjective Ger- 
manicus ; and the first and last are 
never confounded, nor is analogy 
often transgressed in the formation 
of such words. 

4] Supr. 6. 3. 

5 praetorianorum in sense goes 
with both castra and tribuni, in 
construction (according to the usual 
Latin order of words) probably 
with the latter. Probably the legio 
classica, like the German and Illy- 

rian troops, was not in a regular 

necdum i.q. nondum is silver- 
age ; in older Latin et would not 
be wanted. 

6 quia non . . . erat] ' Because, 
not on account of his military rank, 
but of, his belonging to the number 
of Galba's friends, he was . . .' 
Orelli- seems to take ordine militiae 
and e Galbae amicis not as explana- 
tions of his conduct, but of that of 
the soldiers ; it seems clearer to 
make the ablative clauses account 
for his conduct, and quia for theirs. 
The sense is, that the officers had 
no N higher sense of allegiance than 
the men, —it was a matter of course 
that they should protest against a 
mutiny, but they would submit, 
after a decent protest, to the show 
of force : real force was only needed 
to overcome private friendship. 
But in 36. 2 we are told that 
the officers did generally adhere to 
Galba, or at least are suspected of it. 

7 ingestis] ' Hurled upon him ' 
would give the impression that he 


32 Galba refovebat. Universa jam plebs Palatum inplebat, 
mixtis servitiis, et dissono clamore caedem Othonis et conjura- 
torum exitium poscentium, ut si in circo ac theatro ludicrum 
aliquod postularent : neque illis judicium aut Veritas, quippe 
eodem die diversa pari certamine postulaturis, sed tradito 
more quemcunque principem adulandi licentia adclamationum 
et studiis inanibus. Interim Galbam duae sententiaedistinebant. 
Titus Vinius manendum intra domum, opponenda servitia, 2 
firmandos aditus, non eundum ad iratos censebat. Daret 3 
malorum paenitentiae, daret bonorum consensui spatium. 
Scelera impetu, bona consilia mora valescere. Denique eundi 4 
ultro, si ratio sit, eandem mox facultatem ; regressus, si 

3 3 paeniteat, in aliena potestate. Festinandum ceteris videbatur, 
antequam cresceret invalida adhuc conjuratio paucorum. 
Trepidaturum etiam Othonem, qui furtim digressus, ad ignaros 2 
inlatus, cunctatione nunc et segnitia terentium tempus imitari 
principem discat. Non exspectandum, ut compositis castris 3 
forum invadat et prospectante Galba Capitolium adeat, dum 
egregius imperator cum fortibus amicis janua ac limine tenus 

was at least wounded ; which, how- why he used it, viz. , to leave the 

ever, we do not hear of at 39. 1. question still open. 

Ch. XXXII. 1 neque illis] regressus] Probably a gen. sing., 

'Nor had that crowd,' any more facultatem being readily supplied, 

than the crowd of spectators at the Ritter takes it as an ace. pi. , but 

games. Or one might say that the admits that regressum would be 

emphatic pronoun is used, as often more natural, 

in Virgil, not to point a contrast Ch. XXXIII. 2 imitari prin- 

with some other noun or pronoun, cipem] ' To look like an emperor,' 

but to mark an antithesis in the not to imitate the emperor, 

body of the sentence : ' nor, on the discat] The tense but not the 

other hand, had they . . . ' mood of oratio recta is retained ; so 

licentia adclamationum] Shout- in Greek we might have the present 

ing was good fun, but was gener- optative. So invadat \ adeat. 

ally forbidden as disorderly; now 3 egregius imperatorj 'A 

they were allowed to shout in distinguished general.' It would 

honour of the government, and scarcely be flattery, and certainly 

used the opportunity. not irony, to call Galba so. The 

si ratio sit . . . si paeniteat] meaning is, ' he and his friends are 

The pres. subj. is the tense he good soldiers : let them behave as 

actually used, and is retained in the such.' 

orat. obi. to bring out the reason janua ac limine tenus] He draws 



domum cludit. Obsidionem nimirum toleraturos : et prae- 4 
clarum in servis auxilium, si consensus tantae multitudinis, et, 
quae plurimum valet, prima indignatio elanguescat. Proinde 
intuta quae indecora. Vel si cadere necesse sit, occurrendum 5 
discrimini : id Othoni invidiosius et ipsis honestum. Repug- 6 
nantem huic sententiae Vinium Laco minaciter invasit, stimu- 
34 lante Icelo privati odii pertinacia in publicum exitium. Nee 
diutius Galba cunctatus speciosiora suadentibus accessit. 
Praemissus tamen in castra Piso ut juvenis magno nomine, 2 
recenti favore, et infensus Tito Vinio, seu quia erat, seu quia 
irati ita volebant ; et facilius de odio creditur. Vixdum 
egresso Pisone occisum in castris Othonem vagus primum, et 
incertus rumor : mox, ut in magnis mendaciis, interfuisse se 

his defensive lines within thes^ 
limits, and so lets the enemy come 
up to them. 

4] If they stayed they would have 
to submit to a blockade for which 
they had no provisions, and have 
only slaves for a garrison, whereas 
now they had the crowd, who 
were assumed by courtesy to be 

Vel illustrates well the transition 
from the sense 'or' to that of 'even. 1 

6 invasit] Probably not only 

* assailed him with threats,' but 
walked up to him with threatening 

stimulante . . . exitium] In all 
likelihood the construction is 

* Icelus, from his obstinacy in 
private hatred, urging him on to 
the public ruin. ' But it would be 
quite possible to take in publicum 
exitium with pertinacia, ' from pri- 
vate hatred, obstinate till it brought 
public ruin,' as apparently C. and 
B., and just possible also to make 
Icelo a dative, * Laco attacked him, 
because Icelus's obstinacy in private 
hatred urged him (Icelus)/ etc. 

Ch. XXXIV. 1 Nee diutius G. 
cunctatus] He always yielded to, 

the pressure of either Vinius or Laco, 
and now Vinius was forcibly 
silenced. Besides, an appeal to his 
honour as a soldier probably had 
weight with himself: hence spe- 
ciosiora, 'the fairer- seeming :' it 
was, or seemed, the more honour- 
able course — one could scarcely say 
the more prudent. Suetonius knows 
nothing of this intended visit to 
the camp ; of course an intention 
never executed is hard to prove or 

2 recenti favore] It was thought 
that the tolerably favourable hearing 
they had given Galba (c. 18) was 
for Piso's sake. 

infensus] Rather to be taken 
with ut than with quia erat, though 
the last comes in less baldly because 
the predicate to be supplied is so 
near at hand. 

irati] 'They (perhaps Galba's 
advisers generally, probably those 
mentioned, viz. Laco and Icelus) in 
their present ill temper. ' 

et . . . creditur may mean 
that Tacitus leans to either of the 
hypotheses he suggests : either * and 
belief in hatred is always easier ' 
than in goodwill, so that if ita vole* 



quidam et vidisse adfirmabant, credula fama inter gaudentes 
et incuriosos. Multi arbitrabantur compositum auctumque 3 
rumorem mixtis jam Othonianis, qui ad evocandum Galbam 
35 laeta falso volgaverint. Turn vero non populus tantum et 
imperita plebs in plausus et inmodica studia, sed equitum 
plerique ac senatorum, posito metu incauti, refractis Palatii 
foribus ruere intus ac se Galbae ostentare, praereptam sibi 
ultionem querentes. Ignavissimus quisque, et, ut res docuit, 2 
in periculo non ausurus, nimii verbis, linguae feroces ; nemo 
scire, et omnes adfirmare, donee inopia veri, et consensu 
errantium victus, sumpto thorace Galba, inruenti turbae neque 
aetate neque corpore sistens, sella levaretur. Obvius in 3 
Palatio Julius Atticus speculator, omentum gladium ostentans, 
occisum a se Otrionem exclamavit ; et Galba, ' Commilito,' 

bant, their belief readily followed 
their wish ; or perhaps better, * and 
I find it easier to believe in his 
hatred. 5 The latter gives a better 
force to the comparative. More- 
over, Vinius had opposed Piso's 

credula] There seems no instance 
of this word meaning "easy of belief 
in a passive sense, as Emesti took 
it ; it must be a sort of half per- 
sonification of Rumour. 

incuriosos] ' Uncritical ' rather 
than 'indifferent' 

3 compositum auctumque] 'That 
it was got up on purpose, and spread 
more widely because Otho's men 
(from the camp) had by this time 
mixed in the crowd ; ' its original 
authors were not Othoniani in the 
sense of being in his conspiracy, 
though they raised the report in his 
interest. . 

Ch. XXXV. 1 populus . . . 
plebs] Practically synonymous, 
only the latter a shade more con- 
temptuous : so the two words are 
coupled at 36. 2 ; 40. 2 ; 72. 3. 

in . . . studia] With ruere> 

though the verb when it comes has 
a construction of its own with intus, 
in the literal sense of physical 

2 feroces is no doubt the con- 
struction : M. has ferocis, but the 
general usage of this MS. is not to 
spell the nom. pi. with an z, so this 
is probably meant for a gen. sing. , 
which wculd be both less forcible 
and less symmetrical. 

thorace] A linen one, according 
to Suetonius, was all he could stand, 
and he makes Galba say it would 
be little use ; but Tacitus implies 
that it was sword-proof, 41. 7. 

sistens] Never elsewhere with 
the dative : it must mean like re- 
sistens, i standing against. ' Either 
Tacitus wrote corpore resistens and 
one re dropped out, or he wrote as 
in the text to avoid the cacophony 
re re. 

3 speculator] He had, or pre- 
tended to have, gone to the camp 
and back since Piso's speech. The 
speculatores were attached to Otho's 
interest (see on 31. 1), but his boast 
was perhaps principally in his own. 



inquit, 'quis jussiU' insigni animo ad coercendam militarem 
licentiam, minantibus intrepidus, adversus blandientes incor- 
3^ Haud dubiae jam in castris omnium mentes ; tantusque 
ardor ut, non contend agmine et corporibus, in suggestu, in 
quo paulo ante aurea Galbae statua fuerat, medium inter signa 
Othonem vexillis circumdarent. Nee tribimis aut centurioni- 2 
bus adeundi locus : gregarius miles caveri insuper praepositos 
jubebat. Strepere cuncta clamoribus et tumultu et exhorta- 
tione mutua, non tanquam in populo ac plebe, variis segni 
adulatione vocibus, sed ut quemque adfluentium militum 
aspexerant, prensare manibus, complecti armis, conlocare juxta, 
praeire sacramentum, modo imperatorem militibus modo 

insigni . . . licentiam] There 
and there only he was in his element. 

minantibus] Probably an abl., 
'unshaken by threats,' though one 
might make it a dative, 'whom 
threateners found they could not 
shake. ' 

Ch. XXXVI. i agmine et cor- 
poribus] Not content with forming 
their bodies into a solid mass round 
him, — a practical acknowledgment 
of him as their leader, — they con- 
.secrated him as such with the signa 
and vexilla. Agmen, properly an 
army in marching order, approaches 
in usage what we should call ' forma- 
tion in column,' i.e. an order where 
the depth exceeds the breadth. A 
charging column is cuneus, ii. 42. 4. 
Neither Greeks nor Romans ever 
fought 'in line' in our sense, i.e. 
less than four deep. 

aurea] No doubt of gilt bronze. 
Nerva is said to have forbidden such 
statues to, be made of himself, but 
his successors did not persevere in 
the refusal. 

inter signa vexillis] The signa 
are fixtures so long as the army 
remains encamped; the vexilla are 
probably more easily portable, 

certainly less sacred, and moved on 
slighter occasion. 

2 insuper comes to mean the 
same as ultro, and might almost be 
translated 'on the contrary.' 

non tanquam . . . vocibus] In 
a crowd of civilians (such as has 
just been described as surrounding 
Galba) every one wanted to flatter, 
but no one wanted to act, or had 
the habit of concerted action ; here 
every one half fell into his place 
spontaneously, half was forced into 
it, so as to co-operate with the rest. 
In populo ac plebe may be 'in a 
popular assembly or a mob' (Church 
and Brodribb), if any marked dis- 
tinction is meant between the two ; 
but see on 35. 1 for evidence that 
there is none. 

armis] With the shield on the 
left arm, and probably a weapon in 
the right hand. Strange to say, 
Ritter takes the word as masculine, 
' in their arms, ' here and in Virg. 
A en. xii. 432. 

conlocare juxta] They make 
them, by moral and physical pres- 
sure, fall into the ranks ; then one 
man goes through the words of the 
oath, and knows that from force of 


milites imperatori commendare. Nee deerat Otho, pro ten dens 3 
manus, adorare volgum, jacere oscula, et omnia serviliter pro 
dominatione. Postquam universa classicorum legio sacra- 4 
mentum ejus accepit, fidens viribus, et quos adhuc singulos 
exstimulaverat, accendendos in commune ratus, pro vallo 
3 7 castrorum ita coepit : — ' Quis ad vos processerim, commili- 
tones, dicere non possum, quia nee privatum me vocare 
sustineo princeps a vobis nominatus, nee principem alio 
imperante. Vestrum quoque nomen in incerto erit, donee 2 
dubitabitur imperatorem populi Romani in castris an hostem 
habeatis. Auditisne ut poena mea et supplicium vestrum 3 
simul postulentur % adeo manifestum est neque perire nos 
neque salvos esse nisi una posse. Et, cujus lenitatis est Galba, 4 
jam fortasse promisit, ut qui nullo exposcente tot milia inno- 
centissimorum militum trucidaverit. Horror animum subit, 5 
quotiens recordor feralem introitum et hanc solam Galbae 
Victoriam, cum in oculis urbis decumari deditos juberet, quos 

habit his neighbour will join in tate it ; only Tacitus lets us feel 

them with him. how incongruous it is with him. 

3 adorare] In its etymological sustineo] 'I have not the mi- 
ni eaning, and so nearly synonymous pudence.' 

withjacere oscula — though the asso- 3 Auditisne] The demand was 

ciations of the commoner derived being made (32. 1) ; the soldiers' 
meaning come in. • cries could be heard in the city 

dominatione] The most invidious (31. 1), and so no doubt the 

word for supreme power ; he makes citizens' cries could in the camp ; 

himself their slave to-day, that they but who, except Tacitus, knew 

and their countrymen may be his what they were about ? 

slaves for ever. supplicium] The distinction, if 

4 classicorum legio] In 31. 7 any, from poena is that he would be 
we were told they united with the tried and sentenced, they punished 
Praetorians, i.e. marched into their summarily — no doubt decimated, 
camp. Now they had not only according to the precedent men- 
resolved to co-operate with them, tioned in the next sentence. 

but resolved on the object to co- 4 tot milia] According to Dion, 

operate for. 7000 in the first massacre ; but that 
Ch. XXXVII. 1 commilitones] ' must, even before the decimation, 

Galba was said to be the first surely be an exaggeration. Com- 

emperor who condescended to call pare, however, 6. 3, where Tacitus 

his men so; this frankness being uses in his own person the same 

the one popular element in his words as Otho. 

character. Otho is careful to imi- hanc solam Galbae victoriam] 


deprecantes in fidem acceperat. His auspiciis urbem ingressus, 6 
quam gloriam ad principatum attulit nisi occisi Obultronii 
Sabini et Cornelii Marcelli in Hispania, Betui Chilonis in 
Gallia, Fonteii Capitonis in Germania, Clodii Macri in Africa, 
Cingonii in via, Turpiliani in urbe, Nymphidii in castris? 
Quae usquam provincia, quae castra sunt, nisi cruenta et 7 
maculata, aut ut ipse praedicat, emendata et correcta? nam 
quae alii scelera, hie remedia vocat, dum falsis norninibus 
severitatem pro saevitia, parsimoniam pro avaritia, supplicia 
et contumelias vestras disciplinam appellat. Septem a Neronis 8 
fine menses sunt, et jam plus rapuit Icelus quam quod Poly- 
cliti et Vatinii et Aegiali paraverunt. Minore avaritia ac 9 
licentia grassatus esset T. Vinius, si ipse imperasset : nunc 
et subjectos nos habuit tanquam suos, et viles ut alienos. 
Una ilia domus sufficit donativo, quod vobis nunquam datur 10 
38 et cotidie exprobratur. Ac, ne qua saltern in successore 
Galbae spes esset, accersit ab e'xsilio quern tristitia et avaritia 
sui simillimum judicabat. Vidistis, commilitones, notabili 2 
temp estate etiam deos infaustam ad option em aversantes. 

In his service on the German frontier fortune by a certain sort of industry 

(49. 8) he had never commanded and economy.' 
an army in a pitched battle ; in his 9] Tacitus does not seem to pay 

revolt against Nero the only battle much attention to the suspicion that 

fought was the defeat of Vindex. Vinius was in the conspiracy ; but 

8 paraverunt] A correction it seems plain that if he was, Otho 

required by the sense; M. has resolved to throw him over after 

Aegialii per ierunt, whence some et using him. 

qui alii perierunt. But Aegialus 10 exprobratur] See on 25. 3. 
(not -lius), though not elsewhere Ch. XXXVIII. I Galbae] Most 
known, is likely enough to have simply taken as a genitive with 
been the name of a freedman of successore, — put after the governing 
Nero. Petierunt, though closer word, contrary to the general rule, 
than paraverunt to the MS. reading, because * the successor ' is the pro- 
makes a less forcible sense; it minent thought, and it is only an 
would make the antithesis to\rapuit afterthought to name the person he 
* he takes the goods of others, they succeeds. Else it could be a dative, 
only asked the emperor to give of * For fear Galba shoidd leave us any 
his own,' while the text makes it hope/— almost the same as per 
1 he has seized it by no means but Galbam. 
greedy force ; they made their 2] See 18. I. 


Idem senatus, idem populi Romani animus est. Vestra 3 
virtus exspectatur, apud quos omne honestis consiliis robur, 
et sine quibus quamvis egregia invalida sunt. Non ad bellum 4 
vos nee ad periculum voco : omnium militum arma nobiscum 
sunt. Nee una cohors togata defendit nunc Galbam, sed 5 
detinet. Cum vos aspexerit, cum signum meum acceperit, 
hoc solum erit certamen, quis mihi plurimum inputet. Nullus 6 
cunctationis locus est in eo consilio quod non potest laudari 
nisi peractum.' Aperire deinde armamentarium jussit. Rapta 7 
statim arma, sine more et ordine militiae, ut praetorianus aut 
legionarius insignibus suis distingueretur : miscentur auxiliari- 
es galeis scutisque, nullo tribunorum centurionumve adhort- 
ante, sibi quisque dux et instigator ; et praecipuum pessimorum 
incitamentum, quod boni maerebant 
39 Jam exterritus Piso fremitu crebrescentis seditionis et voci- 
bus in urbem usque resonantibus, egressum interim Galbam 
et foro appropinquantem adsecutus erat ; jam Marius Celsus 
haud laeta rettulerat, cum alii in Palatium redire, alii Capito- 

3 Idem] The same as that of word 'oblige,' to mean simply 'do 
the gods ; they, the senate and the me the greatest service. ' This use 
people, have made up their minds ; of the word is first found in Ovid, 
they are only waiting for the army. 6] He recurs to the sentiment 

4 militum arma] ' All the of 37. 2, that they have to prove 
soldiers in arms,' opposed to the that they are not mutineers. 
cohors togata. This last name was 7 Ut . . . distingueretur] Ep- 
literally applicable, and seems to exegetical of ordine militiae. 

have been almost a technical name Ch. XXXIX.} Piso had started 

for the cohort on duty at the to visit the Praetorian camp, 34. 

palace; so Martial vi. 76. I, i llle 2, 3 : he turns back, judging 

sacri lateris custos Martisque togati. ' from the noise that his mission is 

It was civile that the chief of the state, useless; comes to the palace, and 

if he must have a body-guard, should finds Galba gone, and overtakes 

have one that looked like armed him just outside, 

citizens, not professional soldiers. Capitolium] Which was (as was 

5. detinet] Prevents his flight ; proved next year) more defensible 

it is not meant that they held him than the Palatine, and which men 

prisoner. would be more scrupulous in as- 

quis] Whether they or you. saulting. 

imputet] * Oblige me most,' C. redire . . . petere] Probably not 

and B. ; meaning properly ' estab- historical infinitives co-ordinate 

lish the largest claim on me to his with censerent, but in a lax sense 

own credit/ it comes, like our depending on it. Indeed, one 



Hum petere, plerique Rostra occupanda censerent, plures 
tantum sententiis aliorum contradicerent, utque evenit in 
consiliis infelicibus, optima viderentur quorum tempus effugerat. 
Agitasse Laco ignaro Galba de occidendo Tito Vinio dicitur, 2 
sive ut poena ejus animos militum mulceret, seu conscium 
Othonis credebat, ad postremum vel odio. Haesitationem 3 
attulit tempus ac locus, quia initio caedis orto difficilis modus. 
Et turbavere consilium trepidi nuntii ac proximorum diffugia, 
languentibus omnium studiis qui primo alacres fidem atque 
40 animum ostentaverant. Agebatur hue illuc Galba, vario turbae 
nuctuantis inpulsu, completis undique basilicis ac templis, 
lugubri prospectu. Neque populi aut plebis ulla vox, sed 2 
attoniti voltus et conversae ad omnia aures. Non tumultus, 3 
non quies, quale magni metus et magnae irae silentium est. 

porters ; secondly, he saw that the 
people were beginning to desert, 
and lost his presence of mind 
too completely to do anything. 

diffugia] "Aira% Xeybpevov. 

Ch. XL. 1 hue illuc] 'From 
side to side.' The bearers of the 
chair, no doubt, kept the general 
direction they intended, but had to 
push their way through the crowd, 
and could not go fast or straight. 
_ lugubri prospectu] 'Thronged 
with spectators of this mournful 
sight,' C. and B. ; not that the 
abl. depends on completis, but is 
absolute, 'the sight before them 
being a mournful one.' If this 
seems harsh or obscure, the sense 
must be, 'Galba from his chair 
had a discouraging prospect,' seeing 
every one crowd round to see what 
happened, but every one who was 
expected to help him edge away. 

2 populi aut plebis] There was 
not the utterance of a great nation 
in its lawful assembly, nor even the 
shouting of a promiscuous crowd : 
populus and plebs are the same per- 
sons regarded in different lights. 

quale . . . silentium est] Every 

could not say redire censeo for re- 
deundum censeo ; but Tac. has not 
made up his mind what verb he 
will use. 

occupanda] 'Secure,' before the 
mutineers came up. 

plerique . . . plures] Of the 
three parties who gave any posi- 
tive advice, those who recommended 
the Rostra were largest ; but those 
who confined themselves to op- 
posing everything were more . 
numerous than all three. 

2 poena] Perhaps best taken as 

vel] As in 33. 4, we see the 
transition between the two ap- 
parently distinct meanings of this 
particle. Else one might say that 
the two first hypotheses {sive . . . 
seu) are grouped together and con- 
trasted with the third. He may 
have thought of it from policy (and 
that on one of two grounds) or 
merely from personal ill-will. 

3 Laco had two reasons for not 
killing Vinius ; first, he was afraid 
it might be taken as an act of 
treason to Galba, and a signal for 
the massacre of him and his sup- 


Othoni tamen armari plebem nuntiabatur. Ire praecipites et 4 
occupare pericula jubet. Igitur milites Romani, quasi Volo- 
gesen aut Pacorum avito Arsacidarum solio depulsuri ac non 
imperatorem suum inermem et senem trucidare pergerent, 
disjecta plebe, proculcato senatu, truces armis, rapidi equis 
forum irrumpunt. Nee illos Capitolii aspectus et imminentium 
templorum religio et priores et futuri principes terruere, quo 
41 minus facerent scelus cujus ultor est quisquis successit. Viso 
comminus armatorum, agmine, vexillarius comitatae Galbam 
cohortis (Atilium Vergilionem fuisse tradunt,) dereptam Galbae 
imaginem solo adflixit. Eo signo manifesta in Othonem 2 
omnium militum studia, desertum fuga populi forum, destricta 
adversus dubitantes tela. Juxta Curtii lacum trepidatione 3 
ferentium Galba projectus e sella ac provolutus est. Extremam 4 
ejus vocem, ut cuique odium aut admiratio fuit, varie prodidere. 
Alii suppliciter interrogasse quid mali meruisset ; paucos dies 
exsolvendo donativo deprecatum. Plures obtulisse ultro per- 5 

one thought it was a shame to dereptam] From his standard, 

desert Galba, but every one was 2 omnium militum] The indi- 

afraid to say so, much more to viduals of the cohors now give way 

fight for him. to the class feeling they share with 

tamen] Though they did nothing, the other soldiers (while till now 

and even said nothing, Otho's their instinct of routine obedience 

partisans felt that they were hostile has kept them true to their colours), 

to them. 4, 5] Suetonius makes the con- 

Vologesen] The actual Parthian trast of tone between the two 

king ; Pacorum, the Parthian hero reported sayings less marked. He 

of the past. gives the former as ' Quid agitis, 

priores . . . principes] There com??iilitones ? ego vester sum et vos 

were the statues of the seven kings, met, ' though adding that he pro- 

that of Caesar beside them, and mised a donative ; in the latter, he 

similar statues of the successive omits the almost affected senten- 

Emperors added to his. tiousness of e re p., ( ut hoc agerent 

futuri] The statues and histori- et ferirent, quando ita videretur.' 

cal buildings bring before the eye Agerent ac ferirent would be natu- 

the past continuity of Roman his- rally taken as a paraphrase of agite 

tory, which suggests its future per- ferite, 'come, strike! 5 but Sue- 

petuity. tonius's hoc agerent looks almost 

Ch. XLI. 1 vexillarius] Plere more as though Galba (or his ad- 

plainly * standard-bearer ' ; and so mirers, who imagined the phrase 

hi. 17. 2; elsewhere in Tacitus for him) meant to recall the formula 

always only a veteran sub vexillo. hoc age! addressed at a sacrifice to 


cussoribus jugulum : agerent ac ferirent, si ita e re publica 
videretur. Non interfuit occidentium quid diceret. De per- 6 
cussore non satis constat. Quidam Terentium evocatum, alii 
Lecanium ; crebrior fama tradidit Camurium quintae decimae 
legionis militem inpresso gladio jugulum ejus hausisse. Ceteri 7 
crura brachiaque (nam pectus tegebatur,) foede laniavere ; 
pleraque volnera feritate et saevitia trunco jam corpori adjecta. 

42 Titum inde Vinium invasere. De quo et ipso ambigitur, 
consumpseritne vocem ejus instans metus, an proclamaverit 
non esse ab Othone mandatum ut occideretur. Quod seu 2 
finxit formidine seu conscientiam conjurationis confessus est, 
hue potius ejus vita famaque inclinat, ut conscius sceleris 
fuerit cujus causa erat. Ante aedem divi Julii jacuit primo 3 
ictu in poplitem, mox ab Julio Caro legionario milite in utrum- 

.43 que latus transverberatus. Insignem ilia die virum Sempronium 
Densum aetas nostra vidit. Centurio is praetoriae cohortis, 
a Galba custodiae Pisonis addjtus, stricto pugione occurrens 

the slayer of the victim, and so at this is of slight weight, as final m 

an execution to the lictor. Is is usually expressed only by a 

Galba meant to emulate the mythical flourish over the preceding vowel ; 

Pope's judico me cremari, and and the change of construction is 

salve his soldiers' allegiance by perhaps more like Tacitus. Else 

officially ordering his own execu- the ablative is hardly as absurd 

tion ? as Orelli considers it ; quod might 

e re publica] Literally t 07t the be a sort of cognate accusative : 

side of the national weal;' <?, omitted s whether this were an invention 

by M. , is a quite certain correction. arising from fear, or a confession 

6 occidentium] No one else . of complicity in the conspiracy.' 
could hear, and they did not heed. hue] ' To the latter alternative, 
Plutarch omits Lecanius's name, viz., that :' hue is in fact ante- 
and adds two others. Notice the cedent to the relative adverb ut\ . 
way that Tacitus avoids repeating eo would have been used if the 
the fatal blow, which has a rhe- previous clause had not contained 
torical effect, something like that aivantithesis. 

in Aen. iv. 663-4. 3 in poplitem goes with ictu, 

quintae decimae] It was in not with jacuit-, for poples is always 

Germany, but he was no doubt in the back of the lines, 

one of the detachments mentioned Ch. £LIII. i Densum] Plu- 

in 6. 5 ; 31. 3, 8. tarch calls him Sempronius Indister. 

7 tegebatur] 35. 2. He and Dio make him sacrifice his 
Ch. XLII. 1 conscientiam] So life for Galba, not Piso. 

edd., though M. has co*i$cientia ; pugione] Apparently an officer's 


armatis et scelus exprobrans, ac modo manu modo voce 
vertendo in se percussores, quanquam volnerato Pisoni 
effugium dedit. Piso in aedem Vestae pervasit, exceptusque 2 
misericordia publici servi et contubernio ejus abditus, non 
religione nee caerimoniis sed latebra imminens exitium differe- 
bat, cum advenere missu Othonis, norainatim in caedem ejus 
ardentes, Sulpicius Floras e Britannicis cohortibus, nuper a 
Galba civitate donatus, et Statius Murcus speculator ; a quibus 
44 protractus Piso in foribus templi trucidatur. Nullam caedem 
Otho majore laetitia excepisse, nullum caput tarn insatiabilibus 
oculis perlustrasse dicitur, seu turn primum levata omni sollici- 
tudine mens vacare gaudio coeperat, seu recordatio majestatis 
in Galba, amicitiae in Tito Vinio quamvis inmitem animum 
imagine tristi confuderat : Pisonis ut inimici et aemuli caede 
laetari jus fasque credebat Praenxa contis capita gestabantur, % 
inter signa cohortium, juxta aquilam legionis, certatim osten- 
tantibus cruentas manus qui occiderant, qui interfuerant, qui 
vere qui falso ut pulchrum et memorabile facinus jactabant. 

weapon, as compared with the refer to a story in Dio, that Otho 

common soldier's gladius; see iii. in his turn had bad omens in 

68. 3. Or., however (on 82. 5), sacrifice, and seemed the night 

quotes authorities against this view. after to have had a terrible dream. 

2 non religione . . . sed lateora] inimici et aemuli] The first 

He does not mean to blame Piso word pointing the contrast with 

for hiding, but says that the soldiers Vinius, the second with Galba. 

would not have respected the 2 signa . . . aquilam] Simi- 

sanctuary. Protractus, however, larly distinguished in ii. 43. 2, 

implies (as in several Greek in- iii. 22. 5. 

stances) a sort of inconsistent dread ostentantibus . . . jaetaoant] 

of polluting it by blood. ' Those who had killed them, those 

nominatim . . . ardentes] Eager who had been present ' (near enough 

to kill Piso in particular, he being perhaps to di]D their hands in blood 

named in Otho's charge to them ; on purpose), 'or who, whether 

though sometimes taken * expressly truly or falsely, boasted of either, 

named because eager to kill him.' showing,' etc. Ritter says that 

Ch. XLIV. 1 imagine tristi only the actual slayers would be 

confuderat] The tense implies able to show bloody hands, — which 

•merely that he had seen their heads nevertheless the pretended slayer of 

before Piso's ; the words probably Otho had managed to do, — so he 

mean no more than that he had been puts a stop after manus and takes 

shocked at the sight, though some qui occiderant, qui interfuerant, qui 


Plures quam centum viginti libellos praemium exposcentium 3 
ob aliquam notabilem ilia die operam Vitellius postea invenit ; 
omnesque conquiri et interfici jussit, non honore Galbae, sed 
tradito principibus more, munimentum ad praesens, in posterum 

45 s Alium crederes senatum, alium populum. Ruere cuncti in 
castra, anteire proximos, certare cum praecurrentibus, increpare 
Galbam, laudare militum judicium, exosculari Othonis manum ; 
quantoque magis falsa erant quae fiebant, tanto plura facere. 
Nee aspernabatur singulos Otho, avidum et minacem militum a 
animum voce voltuque temperans. Marium Celsum consulem 3 
designatum et Galbae usque in extremas res amicum fidumque 
ad supplicium expostulabant, industriae ejus innocentiaeque 
quasi malis artibus' infensi. Caedis et praedarum initium et 4 
Optimo cuique perniciem quaeri apparebat. Sed Othoni 5 
nondum auctoritas inerat ad prohibendum scelus : jubere jam 
poterat. Ita simulatione irae, vinciri jussum et majores poenas 

4^ daturum affirmans, praesenti exitio subtraxit. Omnia deinde 
arbitrio militum acta. Praetorii praefectos sibi ipsi legere, 

verequifalso as subject to jactabant fiebant] Seldom in the uncom- 

But qui vere qui /also without a pounded tenses used so directly as 

verb cannot balance qui occiderant, a passive of facere. 

etc. 2] One would have expected 

3 tradito principibus more] ' To Otho to accept compliments from 

comply with the traditional policy the senate as a body, but to reject 

of rulers, ' C. and B. Perhaps rather them from individuals whom he 

* by way of establishing a precedent knew for his opponents. Instead 

for (future) emperors ; ' principes is of doing that, he even kept the 

best taken in its official Roman soldiers off those whom they knew 

sense, and among Roman emperors for his opponents, 

there had been no precedent yet. 3 malis artibus practically 

munimentum . . . ultionem means 'bad qualities.* > 

may be called in a sense cognate 4 optimo cuique still means ' the 

accusatives after jussit ; 'he issued party of order,' as Cicero proposes 

orders for them to be . . . (which it as a definition of optimates. 

orders were, or an act which was) a 5 nondum . . . jam] A little 

security/ etc. earlier they would have either 

Ch. XLV. 1 judicium] ' The murdered the man or let him alone, 

decision ; ' they are conceived as without consulting Otho ; now his 

an authoritative tribunal. authority had got so far that orders 


Plotium Firm urn e manipularibus quondam, turn vigilibus. 
praepositum et incolumi adhuc Galba partes Othonis secutum. 
Adjungitur Licinius Proculus, intima familiaritate Othonis, 2 
suspectus consilia ejus fovisse. Urbi Flavium Sabinum prae- 
fecere, judicium Neronis secuti, sub quo eandem curam obtinu- 
erat, plerisque Vespasianum fratrem in eo respicientibus. 
Fiagitatum ut vacationes praestari centurionibus solitae remit- 3 
terentur. Nam que gregarius miles ut tributum annuum pende- 
bat. Quarta pars manipuli sparsa per commeatus aut in ipsis 4 
castris vaga, dum mercedem centurioni exsolveret, neque 
modum oneris quisquam neque genus quaestus pensi habebat. 
Per latrocinia et raptus aut servilibus ministeriis militare otium 5 
redimebant. Turn locupletissimus quisque miles labore ac 
saevitia fatigari, donee vacationem emeret. Ubi sumptibus 6 
exhaustus socordia insuper elanguerat, inops pro locuplete et 
iners pro strenuo in manipulum redibat ; ac rursus alius atque 
alius, eadem egestate ac licentia corrupti, ad seditiones et 

were asked for, and positive orders 
obeyed, though negative would not 

Ch. XLVI. 1 incolumi . . . 
secutum] While apparently the 
city troops generally adhered to 
Galba, till the actual advance of 
the Praetorians and those who had 
joined them. 

2 suspectus] Used with a sort of 
irony ; to be suspected of treason 
was a recommendation. Intima 
fa?niliaritate may be an ablative of 
quality, 'an intimate friend of 
Otho,' but perhaps better taken 
with suspectus. 

Urbi . . . praefecere] Prae- 
fectus urbi is as common as urbis, 
and reminded people that praefectus 
is properly a participle, not a noun. 
But to use the verb in the technical 
sense, is perhaps Tacitean rather 
than natural Latin. 

3 vacationes must mean the 

money paid for leave, here and in 

4 Quarta pars manipuli sparsa] 

What is called the nominativus 
pendens ', i.e. really in apposition 
with quisquam, one of the two 
nominatives denoting the whole, 
the other referring to the individuals 
composing it. Or. takes quisquam 
as including the centurions, — they 
cared as little how the camp duty 
might suffer, as the soldiers did how 
their own character might ; but the 
construction as thus explained 
seems to confine the pronoun's 
reference to the manipulares. 

modum oneris can hardly mean 
* the amount of the tax ' (C. and B. ), 
which was surely fixed, but how 
heavily it might fall on each man. 
They had to pay it somehow, and 
did not care if it was more than 
they could raise by fair means, as 
they had no scruples about foul. 


discordias et ad extremum bella civilia ruebant Sed Otho 7 
ne volgi largitione centurionum animos averteret, fiscum suum 
vacationes annuas exsoluturum promisit, rem haud dubie 
utilem, et a bonis postea principibus perpetuitate disciplinae 
firmatam. Laco praefectus, tamquam in insulam seponeretur, 8 
ab evocato, quern ad caedem ejus Otho praemiserat, confossus ; 
in Marcianum Icelum ut in libertum palam animadversum. 
a y Exacto per scelera die novissimum malorum fuit laetitia. 
Vocat senatum praetor urbanus ; certant adulationibus ceteri 
magistrates. Adcurrunt patres ; decernitur Othoni tribunicia 2 
potestas et nomen Augusti et omnes principum honores, 
adnitentibus cunctis abolere convicia ac probra, quae promisee 
jacta haesisse animo ejus nemo sensit. Omisisset offensas an 3 
distulisset, brevitate imperii in incerto fuit. Otho, cruento 
adhuc foro, per stragem jacentium in Capitolium atquq inde 
in Palatium vectus concedi corpora sepulturae cremarique 
permisit. Pisonem Verania uxor ac frater Scribonianus, Titum 4 

7 Fiscum suum] He only com- treated as though going into exile, 
mitted himself, not his successors. and then stabbed. 

rem . . . utilem] In apposition libertum] More contemptuous 

to the sentence which forms the than libertinum. That would mean 

object to promisit : see the last note that he belonged to an ignoble class ; 

on c. 44. this treats him as a mere member 

postea] Vitellius had already of Galba's household, whose death 

adopted the plan independently, was a matter of course, and of no 

inf. 58. 1. The rather cumbrous interest, after his master's, 

device of the commander paying Ch. XLVII. 1 Vocat . . . ur- 

fees for the soldiers was practically "banus] The constitutional course 

what we should call the recognition when both consuls were killed or 

of a vested interest. In the eyes of absent ; Cic ad Fam. x. 12. 3 ; so 

Juvenal (xiv. 194 sqq.) the attrac- also Liv. xxii. 55. I. 

tion, such as it was, of a centurion's 2 quae . . . nemo sensit] Does 

post, was not glory but money. Tacitus mean to blame them for not 

8 tamquam . . . seponeretur. . . reflecting that Otho would remember 
confossus] ' Was stabbed under them, or to praise him for not 
pretence of being sent into banish- making them feel that he did ? Per- 
ment.' The Latin order of the haps both, but the next sentence 
sentence, keeping the main predicate shows that the latter was more 
till the end, helps to excuse a slight present to his mind. 

confusion in the connexion of words, 3 in Capitolium] To offer sacri- 

Laco was not ' stabbed as though fices, which, it is said, were as 
he were going into exile,' but first unfavourable as Galba's. 



Vinium Crispina filia composuere, quaesitis redemptisque 
48 capitibus, quae venalia interfectores servaverant. Piso unum 
et tricesimum aetatis annum explebat, fama meliore quam 
fortuna. Fratres ejus Magnum Claudius, Crassum Nero inter- 
fecerant. Ipse diu exsul, quatriduo Caesar, properata adoption e 2 
ad hoc tan turn Txiajori fratri praelatus est, ut prior occideretur. 
Titus Vinius quinquaginta septem annos variis moribus egit. 3 
Pater illi praetoria familia, maternus avus e proscriptis. Prima 4 
militia infamis legatum Calvisium Sabinum habuerat, cujus 
uxor mala cupidine visendi situm castrorum, per noctem 
militari habitu ingressa, cum vigilias et cetera militiae munia 
eadem lascivia temerasset, in ipsis principiis stuprum ausa ; et 
criminis hujus reus Titus Vinius arguebatur. Igitur jussu 5 
G. Caesaris oneratus catenis, mox mutatione temporum 
dimissus, cursu honorum inoffenso legioni post praeturam 

4 composuere] Though applic- 
able to any burial (Hor. Sat. i. 9. 
28), is used here as suggesting, with 
a grim literalness, the burial of a 
mutilated body. 

venalia] According to Plutarch, 
Verania had Piso's given her, but 
Crispina had to pay. 

Ch. XLVIII. 1 expleoat] ' Was 
on the point of completing.' 

Fratres] We have other notices 
of them, but no detailed accounts of 
their death. Magnus was Claudius' 
son-in-law, and was said to have 
been a victim of Messalina ; from 
iv. 42. 2, it appears Crassus was 
prosecuted by Regulus. 

2 quatriduo] Four whole days, 
besides the end of one and be- 
ginning of another. It is commoner 
in Latin to include both extremes 
than to exclude both, while we 
commonly include one. 

majori fratri] Sup. 15. 3. Does 
prior mean that Scribonianus also 
came to' a violent end, only later ? 

3 praetoria familia] Cf. Ann. 
iii. 30. 2. Notice how the nobility 
(in the technical sense) tended to 

subdivide itself into higher and 
lower grades. There were houses 
that had attained every official dis- 
tinction except the highest : if we 
are to take Hor. Sat. i. 6. ult. as 
serious, there were others who were 
proud of having squeezed into the 
lowest, but who stuck there when 
once in. 

maternus avus] And he or his 
son was probably his adoptive 
father; since Dio mentions a T. 
Vinius as having been saved by his 
wife in the Proscription. 

4 Prima militia] Perhaps best 
taken as an abl., 'in his first cam- 
paign he was discredited, having 
had . . .' Sabinus' own character 
seems to have been no better than 
his wife's. 

mala . < . castrorum] A half 
jocular and half bitter irony. She 
wanted to try what the quarters 
were like in every section of the 
camp ; she went the rounds of all, 
ending with the general's, where 
he could not help detecting her. 

5 post praeturam] Apparently 
he could rise no higher than his 



praepositus probatusque, servili deinceps probro respersus est 
tamquam scyphum aureum in convivio Claudii furatus ; et 
Claudius postera die soli omnium Vinio fictilibus ministrari 
jussit. Sed Vinius proconsulatu Galliam Narbonensem severe 6 
integreque rexit. Mqx Galbae amicitia in abruptum tractus, 7 
audax, callidus, promptus et, prout animum intendisset, pravus 
aut industrius, eadem vi. Testamentum Titi Vinii magnitudine 8 
opum inritum ; Pisonis supremam voluntatem paupertas firma- 
49 vit. Galbae corpus diu neglectum et licentia tenebrarum 
plurimis ludibriis vexatum dispensator Argius, e prioribus 
servis, humili sepultura in privatis ejus hortis contexit. Caput 2 
per lixas calonesque suffixum laceratumque, ante Patrobii 
tumulum (libertus is Neronis punitus a Galba fuerat,) postera 
demum die repertum et cremato jam corpori admixtum est. 
Hunc exitum habuit Servius Galba, tribus et septuaginta annis 3 
quinque principes prospera fortuna emensus, et alieno imperio 

fathers, apart from such special 
favour as he got from Galba. 

tamquam] This, and perhaps the 
reus arguebatur in the last sec, seem 
meant to avoid committing the 
writer to the direct statement of 
his guilt ; while yet he evidently 
thinks the suspicion in both cases 
strong enough to discredit him. 

8 Testamentum . . . supremam 
voluntatem] Vinius's legal ' will ' 
is distinguished from Piso's ' last 
wishes,' rather because it was a more 
extensive document, disposing of a 
larger property, than because the 
latter was not drawn up in legal 
form. From the business-like habits 
of Roman nobles, it probably was 
so, in spite of Piso's youth ; and it 
is hardly likely that he can have 
sent a message home while in 

Ch. XLIX. i e prioribus servis] 
£ Quos ante principatum kabuerat, ' 
Or. One might add, whom he had 
emancipated before his accession. 
An imperial freedman like Icelus 

was the worst sort of courtier ; the 
confidential freedman of a respect- 
able noble was the best sort of 

2 per lixas] Not a tixis ; they 
are conceived as mere instruments 
of the murderers, who left the 
head to them. 

admixtum] Being no doubt 
itself burnt, the ashes would liter- 
ally mingle. 

3 Hunc exitum] Notice, as a 
feature in the history of thought, 
that the biographies of Piso, Vinius, 
and Galba end, not with the death^ 
of each, but with his burial. 

tribus et sept.] Nero had been 
warned, it was said, by an oracle 
to beware of the seventy-third year. 
He supposed that he was to die at 
73, but was overthrown at 31 by a 
man of 73, — in what ought to be 
called A. d. 73, if the vana miranles 
{Ann. i. 9. 1) want a further coin- 

quinque principes] As we should 
say, 'five reigns;' see on 1. 1. 


felicior quam suo. Vetus in familia nobilitas, magnae opes : 4 
ipsi medium ingenium," magis extra vitia quam cum virtutibus. 
Famae nee incuriosus nee venditator. Pecuniae alienae non 5 
appetens, suae parcus, publicae avarus. Amicorum libertorum- 6 
que, ubi in bonos incidisset, sine reprehensione patiens, si 
mali forent, usque ad culpam ignarus. Sed claritas natalium 7 
et metus temporum obtentui, ut quod segnitia erat, sapientia 
vocaretur. Dum vigebat aetas, militari lauide apud Germanias 8 
floruit. Pro consule Africam moderate, jam senior citeriorem 
Hispaniam pari justitia continuity major privato visus, dum 
privatus fuit, et omnium consensu capax imperii, nisi imperas- 
50 Trepidam urbem, . ac simul atrocitatem recentis sceleris, 
simul veteres Othonis mores paventem, novus insuper de 
Vitellio nuntius exterruit, ante caedem Galbae snppressus,' ut 

Annual magistrates were naturally 
used as chronological landmarks ; 
it was a further step to use per- 
petual magistrates as chronological 

4 Vetus . . . nobilitas] Being 
in fact a member of one of the few 
surviving patrician houses. But 
Tacitus does' not say so. The 
patricians had not only been lost 
among the nobility in the last two 
centuries of the Republic, but had 
been swamped by the new crea- 
tions of Caesar and the Emperors 
after him. Otho was also a patri- 
cian, for it had pleased Claudius to 
make his father one ; but his grand- 
father was modo Romae municipalis 
eques, while a Sulpicius had been 
Consul A.U.C. 254. 

extra] J Lying clear of;' the 
English 'without,' though an illus- 
tration of the process of thought, 
is hardly an equivalent. Extra 
noxam is used similarly in Terence 
and Livy. 

5 alienae . . . parcus] Of 
course an intentional parody on 

Sallust's opposite character of Cati- 
line. There were numerous half- 
comic stories told of Galba's mean- 
ness in money matters. 

6 sine reprehensione may mean 
that he was too tolerant to find 
fault with them ; but perhaps 
better, that you could not then 
find fault with him for his toler- 

ignarus] He did not shield their 
vices wilfully, though he was blind 
to them. 

7 metus temporum] Not that 
he was hailed as a saviour of society 
after his accession, but that before 
his accession he was supposed to 
adopt from prudence the inactive 
course natural to him. 

8 militari laude . . . floruit] 
He had conducted successful cam- 
paigns in Upper Germany, when 
Proconsul in A.D. 39. 

Ch. L. 1 suppressus] 'Crushed 
down ' and made the least of, but 
not ' suppressed.' Piso had told as 
much of the truth as he was 
allowed to tell, or perhaps to know. 



tantum superioris Germaniae exercitum descivisse crederetur. 
Turn duos omnium mortalium inpudicitia ignavia luxuria 2 
deterrimos velut ad perdendum imperium fataliter electos non 
senatus modo et eques, quis aliqua pars et cura rei publicae, 
sed volgus quoque palam maerere. Nee jam recentia saevae 3 
pads exempla, sed repetita bellorum civilium memorla.captam 
totiens suis exercitibus urbem, vastitatem Italiae, direptiones 
provinciarum, Pharsaliam Philippos et Perusiam ac Mutinam, 
nota publicarum cladium nomina, loquebantur. Prope eyersum 4 
orbem etiam cum de principatu inter bonos certaretur; sed 
mansisse G. Julio, mansisse Caesare Augusto victore imperium ; 
mansuram fuisse sub Pompeio Brutoque rem publicam. Nunc 5 
pro Othone an pro Vitellio in templa ituros ? utrasque impias 
preces ; utraque detestanda vota, inter duos quorum bello solum 

exercitum . . . crcdereturj 

Tacitus is rather fond of the im- 
personal construction with an oratio 
obliqua ; e.g. 90. 2 fin. 

2 inpudicitia would be more 
characteristic of Otho, ignavia of 
Vitellius ; but either term appar- 
ently would apply to both. 

pars] Not quite our * stake in 
the country/ which implies some- 
thing material, and to which, more- 
over, no one is essentially unable 
to attain, but 'all to whom the 
country in any way belonged. ' 

3] They left off talking of the 
instances they had seen of the 
horrors of peace to speculate on 
the horrid traditions of civil war. 

saevae pacis exempla are the 
severities of the empire ; the re- 
volution against Nero, the massacres 
of Galba's progress, and even the 
death of the latter (iii. 68. 2) could 
hardly be called events of e_yen a 
bloody peace. 

totiens] See iii. 83. 3. 

Pharsaliam Philippos balance in 
some sort direptiones provinciarum, 
and Perusiam ac Mutinam, vasti- 
tatem Italiae. This is why Tacitus 

groups them in pairs, and deserts 
the chronological order. 

4 principatu] ' The first place ' 
in the state, whether a constitu- 
tional premiership or an usurped 

inter bonos] The Caesars en- 
joyed general admiration, while 
both their generosity or policy and 
the natural tradition of the aristo- 
cracy combined to prevent respect- 
able people from condemning the 
Republican champions. But Taci- 
tus is giving the popular opinion, 
not his own ; as he is not among 
the worshippers of D. Augustus, 
so he is more than suspicious of 
Pompey's loyalty (ii. 38. 4). 

imperium . . . rem p.] One 
must translate 'the Empire' and 
' the Republic ' (cf. note on i. 1. 2), 
but both the Latin words have 
dignified associations which the 
English have not. The paraphrase 
' the principle of sovereign autho- 
rity was preserved, the principle of 
national liberties would have been,' 
comes almost as near to expressing 
the meaning. 


id scires, deteriorem fore qui vicisset. Erant qui Vespasianum 6 
et arma Orientis augurarentur. Et ut potior utroque Vespa- 
sianus, ita bellum aliud atque alias clades horrebant. Et 
ambigua de Vespasiano fama ; solusque omnium ante se prin- 
cipum in melius mutatus est. 
5 1 Nunc initia causasque motus Vitelliani expediam. Caeso 
cum omnibus copiis Julio Vindice, ferox praeda gloriaque 
exercitus, ut cui sine labore ac periculo ditissimi belli victoria 
evenisset, expeditionem et aciem, praemia quam stipendia 
malebat. Diu infructuosam et asperam militiam toleraverant 2 
ingenio loci caelique et severitate disciplinae, quam in pace 
inexorabilem discordiae civium resolvunt, paratis _ utrimque 
corruptoribus et perfidia inpunita. Viri, arma, equi ad usum 3 
et ad decus supererant. Sed ante bellum centurias tantum 
suas turmasque noverant ; exercitus fmibus provinciarum 
discern ebantur. Turn adversus Vindicem contractae legiones, 4 
seque et Gallias expertae, quaerere rursum arma novasque 

5 id scires, etc.] The sentence is stipendia, their regular periodical 

elliptical : * The only question the pay, while doing ordinary duty, but 

war would determine would be, no more. 

which was the worse, viz., the con- 2 ingenio . . . severitate] Both 

queror.' The sense may be, that the ablatives serve to account for 

victory would teach him fresh vices, asperam, the first for infructuosam 

or rather that he would have a longer also. For there were plenty of 

unrestrained career to show his vices Germans whom they might lawfully 

in ; or perhaps it is best of all to have plundered, if Germany had 

take it as a mere utterance of produced any plunder worth taking, 

despairing pessimism — the man is quam] The antecedent is severi- 

sure to win who deserves it least. tate rather than disciplinae ; inexor- 

6 ambigua . . . fama] See ii. 97 abilis would be a harsh epithet for 

fin, the latter. 

solusque omnium ante se] No 3 decus] M. has dedecus, no 

doubt a conscious Graecism. doubt a mere casual dcTroypacpLa. 

Ch. LI. 1 ditissimi belli] A Even if Tacitus had meant 'they had 

war where wealth was to be got. plenty for any useful services, or 

expeditionem et aciem] Depen- for mischief either,' dedecus would 

dent on volebat, supplied from or be a strange word to use. 

rather contained in malebat. 4 seque] Perhaps 'each other ;' 

praemia] Not 'prize-money' or rather this is part of the mean- 
in our sense, but the rewards given ing, but not the most prominent 
to soldiers in acknowledgment for part. Each of the armies of Ger- 
special services ; contrasted with many learnt to know what the 


discordias ; nee socios, ut olim, sed hostes et victos vocabant. 
Nee deerat pars Galliarum, quae Rhenum accolit, easdern 5 
partes secuta, ac turn acerrima instigatrix adversum Galbianos : 
hoc enim nomen fastidito Vindice indiderant. Igitur Sequanis 6 
Aeduisque ac deinde, prout opulentia civitatibus erat, infensi, 
expugnationes urbium, populationes agrorum, raptus penatium 
hauserunt animo, super avaritiam et arrogantiam, .praecipua 
validiorum vitia, contumacia Gallorum inritati, qui remissam 
sibi a Galba quartam tributorum partem et publice donatos in 
ignominiam exercitus jactabant. Accessit callide volgatum, 7 
temere creditum, decumari legiones et promptissimum quem- 
que centurionum dimitti. Undique atroces nuntii, sinistra ex 8 
urbe. fama ; infensa Lugdunensis colqnia, et, pertinaci pro 
Nerone fide, fecunda-rumoribus. Sed plurima ad fingendum 9 
credendumque materies in ipsis castris, odio, metu, et ubi vires 
5 2 suas respexerant, securitate. Sub ipsas superioris anni Kalen- 
das Decembres Aulus Vitellius inferiorem Germaniam ingressus, 

armies of Germany were like, and as a party leader. 

what the provinces of Gaul were like. 6 hauserunt animo] Rather 

socios . . . hostes et victosj * had filled their minds with ' such 

'They called them,' i.e. Gallos im- things, than 'drunk deep of them 

plied in Gallias, ' no longer allies, in anticipation. ' 

but,' etc. donatos] Se is to be supplied 

5 pars . . . accolit] The two from sibi as subject, 

provinces of Germany seem on a 7 decumari . . . dimitti] That 

map to cut off all Gaul from the Galba had begun the process, that 

Rhine, but probably there was no he was going on with it, and (in 

marked geographical frontier be- consequence) that in time it would 

tween the two. Speaking roughly, be applied to them. Of course his 

the valley of the Moselle seems to real treatment of the classiarii gave 

have been Celtic, while both the some foundation for the story. ^ 

Eifel and the Vosges were German : 8 sinistra . . . fama is certainly 

and the Gaulish nations, even down nom. , and infensa . . . colonia . . . 

to the river, would be reckoned to fecunda probably ; though the latter 

belong to Gaul, while the armies of might be taken as an abl. abs. but 

Germany extended their posts east for the other ablative pertinaci . . . 

of the river whenever they could. fide depending on it. 

Galbianos, etc.] They did not rumoribus generally means, as 

think Vindex a considerable enough here, rumours of commotion or 

person to give name to the party, revolution. 

while it was a bad sign that they Ch. LI I. 1 A. Vitellius . . . 

treated Galba not as sovereign but ingressus, sup. 9. 2. 



hiberna legionum cum cura adierat. Redditi plerisque ordines, 2 
remissa ignominia, adlevatae notae, plura ambitione, quaedam 
judicio, in quibus sordem et avaritiam Fonteii Capitonis 
adimendis adsignandisve militiae ordinibus integre mutaverat. 
Nee consularis legati mensura, sed in majus omnia accipie- 3 
bantur. Et ut Vitellius apud severos humilis, ita comitatem 
bonitatemque faventes vocabant, quod sine modo, sine judicio 
donaret sua, largiretur aliena ; simul aviditate imperandi ipsa 
vitia pro virtutibus interpretabantur. Multi in utroque exercitu, 4 
sicut modesti quietique, ita mali et strenui. Sed profusa cupi- 
dine et insigni temeritate legati legionum, Alienus Caecina et 5 
Fabius Valens ; e quibus Valens infensus Galbae tamquam 
detectam a se Verginii cunctationem, oppressa Capitonis 
consilia ingrate tulisset, instigare Vitellium, ardorem militum 

hiberna legionum cum cura 
adierat] ' Had reached the quarters 
of the legions, with commission to 
take their command/ Or. : or, 'had 
carefully inspected the winter quar- 
ters of the legions,' C. and B. And 
attention to the physical comforts 
of his men was both natural to 
Vitellius, who was so careful of his 
own, and helped him to secure their 

2 ordines] Not 'their ranks,' 
but 'their companies,' and so prac- 
tically ' the rank of centurion.' 

sordem] The singular is rare, 
and as M. has sorde without a mark 
over the e, it is easy to read sordes. 
We have a similar case in 60. 1 ; 
and perhaps the two help to justify 
each other, considering Tacitus's 
taste for unfamiliar expressions. 
Perhaps there is a shade of differ- 
ence in sense ; the plural is concrete 
and material shabbiness, this mental 

3 Nec . . . accipiefoantur] 'Nor 
was his measure taken as that of a 
legate and ex-consul, but all his 
claims to consideration were taken 
at more than their worth.' The 

next sentence points out that he 
was thought to have personal as 
well as official claims. 

ut] Easily omitted, vtvit. 

faventesj 'Admiringly,' not 'his 
admirers,' still less ' the admirers of 
those qualities.' Tacitus admits 
(iii. 86. 3) that he deserved part of 
their praise. 

aliena] That was not his, not 
that it belonged to other men, but 
to the state. If it had been the 
result of confiscations, he would 
have made as many enemies as 

imperandi] By making him em- 
peror they would themselves secure 
the power of the empire. 

4 Multi . . . strenui] 'Many 
as were the orderly and peaceable 
men in both armies, there were as 
many who were bad and vigorous. ' 
Multi, though shown by its position 
to be meant for the subject of the 
sentence, must be translated as a 
predicate ; the one class, as well as 
the other, were numerous. 

5 cunctationem] Whether to 
accept the empire, sup. 8. 6, 


ostentans. Ipsum celebri ubique fama, nullam in Flacco 6 
Hordeonio moram ; adfore Britanniam, secutura Germanorum 
auxilia; male fidas provincias, precarium seni imperium et 
brevi transiturum. Panderet modo sinum et venienti Fortunae 7 
occurreret. Merito dubitasse Verginium equestri familia, ignoto 
patre, inparem, si recepisset imperium, tutum, si recusasset. 
Vitellio tres patris consulatus, censuram, collegium Caesaris 8 
et inponere jampridem imperatoris dignationem et auferre 
5 3 privati securitatem. Quatiebatur his segne ingenium, ut con- 
cupisceret magis quam ut speraret. At in superiore Germania 
Caecina decora juventa, corpore ingens, animi inmodicus, 
scito sermone, erecto incessu studia militum inlexerat. Hunc 2 
juvenem Galba, quaestorem in Baetica, inpigre in partes suas 
transgressum legioni praeposuit ; mox compertum publicam 
pecuniam avertisse, ut peculatorem flagitari jussit. Gaecina 3 
aegre passus miscere cuncta et privata volnera rei publicae 
malis operire statuit. Nee deerant in exercitu semina discordiae, 4 
quod et bello adversus Vindicem universus adfuerat, nee nisi 
occiso Nerone translatus in Galbam, atque in eo ipso Sacra- 
mento vexillis inferioris Germaniae praeventus erat. Et Treveri 5 
ac Lingones, quasque alias civitates atrocibus edictis aut damno 
finium Galba perculerat, hibernis legionum propius miscentur ; 

6 precarium . . . transiturum] had been Claudius' colleague both 
A general sentiment : ' An old man as consul and censor. 

holds the empire only on sufferance, Ch. LIII. i scito] M. has cito, 

and it is sure to change hands which is indeed used as an epithet 

soon.' of oratory, but (1) always in a 

7 Panderet modo sinum] 'Let passage of technical rhetoric, (2) not 
him only spread his sails ;' as Juv. as per se a term of praise. 

i. 150, totos fiande sinus. But 2 flagitari] When used in this 

Or., while admitting that this me- sense, the charge is oftener the 

taphor is common, prefers to take subject than the criminal. 

it here as ' spread out his robe 4 vexillis must be a dative of the 

to catch what fortune showers agent. 

in,' and so apparently C. and 5 Treveri ac Lingones] So the 

B., 'You have only to open your pi. of the latter always ; the spelling 

arms.' of the former varies. The singulars 

8 Caesaris] Of a Caesar. He are Trevir and Lingonus (iv. 55. 2). 


unde seditiosa colloquia, et inter paganos corruptior miles, et 

54 in Verginium favor cuicunque alii profuturus. Miserat ci vitas 
Lingonum vetere instituto dona legionibus, dextras, hospitii 
insigne. Legati eorum in squalorem maestitiamque compositi, 2 

. per principia per contubernia modo suas injurias modo vicina- 
rum civitatium praemia, et ubi pronis militum auribus accipie- 
bantur, ipsius exercitus pericula et contumelias conquerentes 
accendebant animos. Nee procul seditione aberant, cum 3 
Hordeonius Flaccus abire legatos, utque occultior digressus 
esset, nocte castris excedere jubet. Inde atrox rumor, adfir- 4 
mantibus plerisque interfectos, ac nisi ipsi consulerent, fore ut 
acerrimi militum et praesentia conquesti per tenebras et 
inscitiam ceterorum occiderentur. Obstringuntur inter se 5 
tacito foedere legiones. Adsciscitur auxiliorum miles, primo 
suspectus tanquam circumdatis cohortibus alisque impetus in 
legiones pararetur, mox eadem acrius volvens, faciliore inter 
malos consensu ad bellum quam in pace ad concordiam. 

55 Inferioris tamen Germaniae legiones sollemni Kalendarum 
Januariarum sacramento pro Galba adactae, multa cunctatione 

Ch. LIV. 1 dextras] Joined 5 circumdatis cohortibus alisque] 

hands made of silver, so ii. 8. 3. Probably a fact, not part of the 

2 compositi] Perhaps with a suspicion : the irregulars were en- 
little irony : not that they really camped so as to command the 
were too unhappy to dress tidily, quarters of the legions : it was 
but they assumed the appearance of thought that they were meant to 
being so. But we must remember attack them. 

that squalor was always the con- inter malos serves as a matter 

ventional sign of maestitia. of rhythm to balance in pace, but 

principia . . . contubernia] in sense must be taken with both 

The officers' and soldiers' quarters. branches of the comparison. 

4 consulerent] Not quite i.q. Ch. LV. 1 tamen] In spite of the 
sibi consulerent, but ' unless they general disaffection, the officers put 
took some measures.' If anything the men through the form of swear- 
is to be supplied, it is ne foret ut ing allegiance. But, he goes on to 
acerrimi, etc. say, the form was without heartiness. 

per tenebras might mean no multa . . . vocibus] One would 

more than 'in the darkness,' but have expected cum, at least with 

when the preposition is coupled multa cunctatione. Raris . . . vocibus 

with another subst, we see that might be regarded asan.abl. abs., 

Tacitus means ' by the opportunity and perhaps serves to cover the 

of.' similar construction of the other. 


et raris primorum ordinum vocibus, ceteri silentio proximi 
cuj usque audaciam exspectantes, insita mortalibus natura, 
propere sequi quae piget inchoare. Sed ipsis legionibus 2 
inerat diversitas animorum. Primani quintanique turbidi adeo 
ut quidam saxa in Galbae imagines jecerint : quinta decuma 
ac sexta decuma legiones nihil ultra fremitum et minas ausae 
initium erumpendi circumspectabant. At in superiore exercitu 3 
quarta ac duoetvicesima legiones, isdem hibernis tendentes, 
ipso Kalendarum Januariarum die dirumpunt imagines Galbae, 
quarta legio promptius, duoetvicesima cunctanter, mox con- 
sensu. Ac ne reverentiam imperii exuere viderentur, senatus 4 
populique Romani obliterata jam nomina sacramento advoca- 
bant, nullo legatorum tribunorumve pro Galba nitente, quibus- 
dam, ut in tumultu, notabilius turbantibus. Non tamen quis- 5 
quam in modum contionis aut suggestu locutus. Neqne enim 
56 erat adhuc cui inputaretur. Spectator flagitii Hordeonius 
Flaccus consularis legatus aderat, non compescere ruentes, 

primorum ordinum] Some at rumpunt would be the more natural 

least of the front rank had to speak, verb in this context, 

or the officer dictating the oath 4 imperii] Almost * the principle 

would notice their silence from their of obedience ; ' an army is not an 

faces. But no more even of these army unless it be under an imperium, 

spoke than felt his eye upon them. which practically implies a personal 

audaciam] That they should imperator, but is not dependent on 

venture to disown allegiance to his personality. 

Galba — perhaps to profess it to 5 suggestu] It is noticed that 

Vitellius. Tacitus is rather fond of using the 

ceteri . . . exspectantes may abl. in a local sense without a pre- 

be as fairly called a nom. abs. as position ; here he omits the ex or 

anything can, i.e. it is in apposition pro that most writers would have 

to legiones as a part to the whole. used, because it would more nearly 

2 Sed] All without being muti- have balanced the clause in modum 
nous were on the verge of mutiny, contionis, which he wishes to vary. 
but the instinct of discontent pre- Neque . . . inputaretur] There 
dominated in some, that of inaction was no one on whom personal pro- 
in others. minence in the mutiny could be held 

3 dirumpunt can only mean to have conferred personal obliga- 
* break in two ' — with pickaxes, says tion. It was worth while for Tribune 
Or. M. has dirrumpunt, which is A or Centurion B to secure Vitel- 
more easily explained as a false lius' gratitude, but the senate and 
spelling than by supposing dir a people were not able to thank him.." 
SiTToypcupla from die, else the simple Ch. L VI. 1 ruentes] Or. seems 


non retinere dubios, non cohortari bonos ausus, sed segnis, 
pavidus et socordia innocens. Quattuor centuriones duoet- 2 
vicesimae legionis, Nonius Receptus, Donatius Valens, Romilius 
Marcellus, Calpurnius Repentinus, cum protegerent Galbae 
imagines, impetu militum abrepti vinctique. Nee cuiquam 3 
ultra fides aut memoria prions sacramenti, sed quod in sedi- 
tionibus accidit, unde plures erant, omnes fuere. 

Nocte quae Kalendas Janu arias secuta est, in coloniam 
Agrippinensem aquilifer quartae legionis epulanti Vitellio 
nuntiat quartam et duoetvicesimam legiones, projectis Galbae 
imaginibus, in senatus ac populi Romani verba jurasse. Id 4 
sacramentum inane visum : occupari nutantem fortunam et 
offerri principem placuit. Missi a Vitellio ad legiones legatos- 5 
que qui descivisse a Galba superiorem exercitum nuntiarent : 
proinde aut bellandum adversus desciscentes, aut, si concordia 
et pax placeat, faciendum imperatorem ; et minore discrimine 
5 7 siimi principem quam quaeri. Proxima legionis primae hiberna 
erant, et promptissimus e legatis Fabius Valens. Is die proximo 2 
coloniam Agrippinensem cum equitibus legionis auxiliariorum- 
que gressus imperatorem Vitellium consalutavit. Secutae in- 3 
genti certamine ejusdem provinciae legiones ; et superior 

rather strangely to take the word as Ch. LVII. i Proxima] At 

transitive, 'making the disturbance.' Bonna, iv. 25. 1. 

2 socordia innocens does not 2 gressus] Not found elsewhere 
mean that he would have headed in prose. 

the mutiny but for laziness, so much imperatorem Vitellium con- 
as that he ought to have pre- salutavit] A reminiscence of the 
vented it, but was excused by his Republican sense of the word, 
stupidity. though only significant if under- 

3 ultra] ' Any longer ' — when stood in the monarchical, as Vitel- 
they saw those who were loyal over- lius had gained no victory. But 
powered. it was still felt that this title must 

unde] Exactly = ex qua parte. proceed from the army, as that of 

Nocte . . . epulanti] A character- princeps from the senate ; so sup. 

istic touch — he kept the feast up late. 27. 4, ii. 80. 1. 

5 et minore . . . quaeri] 'And 3 ejusdem] The same in which 

there was less risk in taking an the first legion were, — perhaps also 

emperor ready to hand, than in the same as that of Vitellius and 

looking further for one. ' Fabius themselves. 


exercitus, speciosis senatus populique Roman! nominibus 
relictis, tertium Nonas Januarias Vitellio accessit. Scires 4 
ilium priore biduo non penes rem publicam fuisse. Ardorem 
exercituum Agrippinenses Treviri Lingones aequabant, auxilia 
equos arma pecunias offerentes, ut quisque corpore opibus 
ingenio validus. Nee principes modo coloniarum aut castro- 5 
rum, quibus praesentia ex affluenti et parta victoria magnae 
spes : sed manipuli quoque et gregarius miles viatica sua et 
balteos phalerasque, insignia armorum argento decora, loco 
58 pecuniae tradebant, instinctu et impetu et avaritia. Igitur 
laudata militum alacritate, Vitellius ministeria principatus, per 
libertos agi solita, in equites Romanos disponit ; vacationes 
centurionibus ex fisco numerat ; saevitiam militum plerosque 
ad poenam exposcentium saepius adprobat, partim simulatione 
vinculorum frustratur. Pompeius Propinquus, procurator Belgi- 2 
cae, statim interfectus. Julium Burdonem, Germanicae classis 
praefectum, astu subtraxit. Exarserat in eum iracundia exer- 3 
citus, tanquam crimen ac mox insidias Fonteio Capitoni 
struxisset. Grata erat memoria Capitonis ; et apud saevientes 4 
^ccidere palam, ignoscere nonnisi fallendo licebat. Ita in 5 
custodia habitus, et post victoriam demum, stratis jam militum 
odiis, dimissus est. Interim, ut piaculum, obicitur centurio 

4 auxilia . . . arma would ap- Ch. LVIII. i ministeria] What 

proximately be answered by eorpore, we should call private secretary - 

the former perhaps also by ingenw, ships. The arrangement did not 

which must mean 'talents' rather become permanent till Hadrian; 

than ' zeal ; ' then equos and. pecunias Tacitus evidently disapproves of it. 

would correspond to opibus. vacationes] Sup. 46. 3. 

5 praesentia ex affluenti] ' Whose plerosque] Answered rather 

actual resources were abundant.' irregularly by partim, so that it has 

Ex affluenti may mean merely ' on virtually to be taken twice over : 

a plentiful scale,' but perhaps prae- 'as the soldiers demanded many 

sentia means ' what they had ready for punishment, he in most cases 

to give,'' and then the latter words approved of their fury. ' 

would mean, that these gifts did 3 crimen ac mox insidias] He 

not exhaust their whole wealth. first got up the charge against him 

instinctu because others urged (the belief that it was fictitious was 

them, impetu from their own blind not groundless, sup. 7. 2), and 

impulse, avaritia from deliberate then entrapped him, so as to be- 

calculation of their interest. come liable to the punishment. 



Crispinus ; sanguine Capitonis se cruentaverat ; eoque et 
59 postulantibus manifestior et punienti vilior fuit Julius deinde 
Civilis periculo exemptus, praepotens inter Batavos, ne sup- 
plicio ejus ferox gens alienaretur. Et erant in civitate Lingonum 2 
octo Batavorum cohortes, quartae decimae legionis auxilia, 
turn discordia temporum a legione digressae, prout indinassent, 
grande momentum sociae aut adversae. Nonium, Donatium, 3 
Romilium, Calpurnium, centurion es, de quibus supra rettuli- 
mus, occidi jussit, damnatos fidei crimine, gravissimo inter 
desciscentes. Accessere partibus Valerius Asiaticus, Belgicae 4 
provinciae legatus, quern mox Vitellius generum adscivit, er 
Junius Blaesus, Lugdunensis Galliae rector, cum Italica legione 
et ala Taurina, Lugduni tendentibus. Nee in Raeticis copiis 5 
mora, quo minus statim adjungerentur. Ne in Britannia 

crimen . . . struere can hardly 
mean to entrap a man into crime. 

Ch. LIX. 1 Julius Civilis] 
Almost certainly the same person 
as the leader of the great revolt 
next year, iv. 13. 2, etc. But 
there he is called Claudius Civilis, 
— probably a mere error, whether 
on the part of Tacitus or of a 
copyist. As the Gauls did not 
mostly receive the citizenship till the 
reign of Claudius, one would expect 
them generally to bear his Gentile 
name ; in fact we find that of Julius 
commoner. One may remember 
that the most distinguished houses 
among them would be likely to 
have received individual grants of 
citizenship, before that to the nation 
at large. It is scarcely likely that 
he bore both names ; if so, it would 
be more appropriate to think of the 
arbitrary grouping of names under 
the lower Empire, than to refer to 
the Sabellian custom of indicating 
a man by two gentile names — appar- 
ently those of his father and mother, 
— though the name of Roscius Cae- 
lius in the next c. seems to show 
that this custom was not extinct. 

2 Explains what made Vitellius 

so anxious not to alienate the tribe ; 
they had quarrelled once already 
with the legion they were attached 
to, and their friendship or enmity 
would give great weight to the side 
into whose scale it was thrown. 

4 Valerius Asiaticus] Presum- 
ably (though we have no direct 
evidence) a son of Claudius' victim, 
Ann. xi. 1-3. From that passage 
it appears that the elder Valerius 
and the elder Vitellius had been 
friends, and perhaps their families 
were already connected ; whence 
Vitellius' freedman (ii. 57. 3) very 
probably got the name. But 
Vitellius had been the determining 
agent in Valerius' death; so this 
marriage represents the reconcilia- 
tion of a feud. 

Junius Blaesus] He was after- 
wards poisoned by Vitellius' orders, 
iii. 38 sqq. He must have been 
very old, if he be the son of 
Q. Junius Blaesus, who was tribune 
under his father {Ann. i. 19. 4) in 
a.d. 14; perhaps that was rather 
his father, who will then be one of 
the two Blaesi that killed them- 
selves in 36 {Ann. vi. 40. 3). 

5 Ne . . . quidem] Even so 


60 quidem dubitatum. Praeerat Trebellius Maximus, per avar- 
itiam ac sorde contemptus exercitui invisusque. Accendebat 
odium ejus Roscius Caelius iegatus vicesimae legionis, olim 
discors, sed occasione civilium armorum atrocius proruperat. 
Trebellius seditionem et confusum ordinem disciplinae Gaelic, 2 
spoliatas et inopes legiones Caelius Trebellio objectabat, cum 
interim foedis legatorum certaminibus modestia exercitus 
corrupta, eoque discordiae ventum ut auxiliarium quoque 
militum conviciis proturbatus, et adgregantibus se Caelio 
cohortibus alisque, desertus Trebellius ad Vitellium perfugerit. 
Quies provinciae quamquam remoto consulari mansit : rexere 
legati legionum, pares jure, Caelius audendo potentior. 

61 Adjuncto Britannico exercitu, ingens viribus opibusque 
Vitellius duos duces, duo itinera bello destinavit. Fabius 
Valens allicere, vel, si abnuerent, vastare Gallias, et Cottianis 
Alpibus Italiam inrumpere, Caecina, propiore transitu, Poeninis 
jugis degredi jussus. Valenti inferioris exercitus electi, cum 2 
aquila quintae legionis et cohortibus alisque, ad quadraginta 
milia armatorum data ; triginta milia Caecina e superiore 
Germania ducebat, quorum robur legio una, prima et vicesima, 

far beyond Vitellius' personal in- 3 potentior] Apparently then 

fluence, or the terror of the armies there were only two legati, though 

of Germany. from iii. 22. 2, we should have 

Ch. LX. I sorde] See on understood that there were three 

52. 2; here one might read either legions, the ninth and second as 

sordem or sordes. well as the twentieth. 

olim . . . proruperat] i&had Ch. LXI. 2 cum aquilaj Im- 

broken out — not his discordia, as plying the main body, but appar- 

one would have expected. But ently not the whole ; for we find 

even thus translated, there is a slight the fifth and fifteenth (iv. 35. 4) 

want of symmetry in the sentence ; acting in Germany ; apparently 

olim balances occasione civilium before the battle of Cremona, in _ 

armorum, we want a relative to which these men (iii. 22. 2) took 

balance discors. part, or at any rate too soon after it 

2, quoque] The legionaries being for them to have returned. 

Roman citizens (at least in theory), prima et vicesima] Tacitus 

it was a degree less scandalous for usually writes una et vie, whic . 

them to presume to criticise a here of course was inadmissible on 

Roman commander. euphonic grounds. 



fuit. Addita utrique Germanorum auxilia, e quibus Vitellius 
62 suas quoque copias supple vit, tota mole belli secuturus. Mira 
inter exercitum imperatoremque diversitas. Instare miles, 
arma poscere, dum Galliae trepident, dum Hispaniae cunc- 
tentur. Non obstare hiemem neque ignavae pacis moras. 2 
Invadendam Italiam, occupandam urbem. Nihil in discordiis 
civilibus festinatione tutius, ubi facto magis quam consulto 
opus esset. Torpebat Vitellius, et fortunam principatus inerti 3 
luxu ac prodigis epulis praesumebat, medio diei temulentus et 
sagina gravis, cum tamen ardor et vis militum ultro ducis 
munia implebat, ut si adesset imperator et strermis vel ignavis 
spem metumque adderet. Instructi intentique signum profec^ 4 
tionis exposcunt. Norn en Germanici Vitellio statim additum : 
Caesarem se appellari etiam victor prohibuit. Laetum augurium 5 
Fabio Valenti exercituique, quern in bellum agebat, ipso pro- 
fectionis die aquila leni meatu, prout agmen incederet, velut 

3 tota mole "belli] Sometimes 
taken, 'with all the war materiel, ,' 
but this makes the omission of cum 
even harsher than it must be any way: 
cf. 55. I. Better therefore, 'with 
his whole military force/ not quite 
i.q. viribus, because insisting on the 
mass more than the active energy. 

Ch. LXII. 1 trepident . . . 
cunctentur] The soldiers said: 
'Let us fight while Gaul is in a 
quiver and Spain at a stay,' so that 
the conjunctive is like Hor. Od. iii. 

3- 37 sqq. 

medio diei] The commoner 
medio die would mean only ' at mid- 
day ' when it was most disgraceful ; 
the partitive genitive adds the 
further force, 'when the day was 
only half over,' so that you can 
imagine what he was like by night. 
Compare iii. 11. 1, and medio 
temporis in Ann. xiii. 28. 3. 

3 ducis . . . imperator] There used 
a*"* Synonymous : contrast iii. yj. 1. 

strenuis vel ignavis spem 
metumaue] Cf. 1. 2, inter infensos 

vel obnoxios ; instead of ' hope to 
the active, and fear to the indolent,' 
Tacitus chooses to say, ' hope and 
fear to them, as they were active or 
indolent. ' 

4 Caesarem . . . prohibuit] See 
ii. 62. 3, iii. 58. 6, also above, the 
note on 5. 1. Perhaps the accident 
of 55. 4 suggested to Vitellius the 
role of a champion of the constitu- 
tion ; if so, this refusal of the 
dynastic title will be an instance of 
the same pseudo-republicanism as 
ii. 91. 5. For the title Germanicus, 
as originally bestowed on Drusus 
and his sons, of course there were 
plenty of Republican precedents. 
Claudius 5 title Britannicus served to 
solten the sense of caricature in its 
present application. 

5 Laetum augurium] In apposi- 
tion to the sentence, not to aquila 
only. For a similar incident, see 
Ann. ii. 17. 2. 

meatu] Apparently always of 
regular and equable motion, e.g. of 
the heavenly bodies. 


dux viae praevolavit ; longumque per spatium is gaudentium 
militum clamor, ea quies interritae alitis fuit, ut haud dubium 

63 magnae et prosperae rei omen acciperetur. Et Treviros 
quidem, ut socios, securi adiere. Divoduri (Mediomatricorum 
id oppidum est,) quamquam omni comitate exceptos subitus 
pavor terruit, raptis derepente armis ad caedem innoxiae 
civitatis, non ob praedam aut spoliandi cupidinem, sed furore 
et rabie et causis incertis, eoque difficilioribus remediis, donee 

L .precibus ducis mitigati ab excidio civitatis temperavere. Caesa 2 
tamen ad quattuor milia hominum. Isque terror Gallias 
invasit, ut venienti mox agmini universae civitates cum magis- 
tratibus et precibus occurrerent, stratis per vias feminis pueris- 
que, quaeque alia placamenta hostilis irae, non quidem in bello 

64 sed pro pace, tendebantur. Nuntium de caede Galbae et 
imperio Othonis Fabius Valens in civitate Leucorum accepit. 
Nee militum animus in gaudium aut formidine permotus : 2 
bellum volvebat. Gallis cunctatio exempta, et in Othonem 
ac Vitellium odium par, ex Vitellio et metus. Proxima Lingo- 3 
num civitas erat, flda partibus. Benigne excepti modestia 

spatium] Doubtless in its proper tendebantur] He passes to the 

local sense. indicative, as he describes not the 

is . . . clamor, ea quies . . . instinctive demonstrations of blind 

ut] Two causes contributed to the terror, but pacificatory measures 

belief that the incident was super- deliberately adopted, 

natural : first, that the men took it Ch. LXIV. 2 in gaudium aut 

as such, and shouted for joy ; then formidine] Such almost meaning- 

(what was really remarkable) that less changes of construction seem to 

their shouting did not frighten the be characteristic of Tacitus, and 

bird away. therefore are to be retained when 

Ch. LXIII. 1 Divoduri Medio- found in mss. ; but here as in 60. 

matricorum] It would almost 1, we must remember that the 

seem as if even then the name of question is practically of the inser- 

the tribe were more familiar than tion, not of a letter, but of a 

that of the town ; which would diacritic mark ; see on 52. 2. 

account for the often noted fact, Gallis . . . exempta] Thev 

that in modern France the former would if they dared have been loyal 

has generally (as in this case) sup- to Galba, 8. 3. 

planted the latter. 3 partibus] As usual, the revolu- 

2 moxj From that time on- tionary side. 


certavere. Sed brevis laetitia fuit cohortium intemperie, quas 
a legione quarta decima, ut supra memoravimus, digressas 
exercitui suo Fabius Valens adjunxerat. Jurgia primum, mox 4 
rixa inter Batavos et legionarios, dum his aut illis studia 
militum adgregantur, prope in praelium exarsere, ni Valens 
animadversibne paucorum oblitos jam Batavos imperii admonu- 
isset. Frustra adversus Aeduos quaesita belli causa : jussi 5 
pecuniam atque arma deferre, gratuitos insuper commeatus 
praebuere. Quod Aedui formidine, Lugdunenses gaudio 6 
fecere. Sed legio Italica et ala Taurina abductae : cohortem 
duodevicesimam Lugduni, solitis sibi hibernis, relinqui placuit. 
Manlius Valens legatus Italicae legionis, quamquam bene de 7 
partibus meritus, nullo apud Vitellium honore fuit. Secretis 8 
eum criminationibus. infamaverat Fabius ignarum et, quo 
incautior deciperetur, palam laudatum. 
.65 Veterem inter Lugdunenses el Vie?inenses discordiam proxi- 
mum bellum accenderat. Multae in vicem clades, crebrius 
infestiusque quam ut tantum propter Neronem Galbamque 
pugnaretur. Et Galba reditus Lugdunensium occasione irae 2 
in fiscum verterat ; multus contra in Viennenses honor. 
Unde aemulatio et invidia et uno amne discretis connexum 3 

supra] 59. 2. crebrius . . . pugnaretur] 'Too 

4 oblitos jam Batavos imperii frequently and fiercely for the cause 
might most simply be taken, ' who of Galba or Nero to have been their 
were beginning to forget that they only motive for figh ting/ or perhaps 
were under military discipline. ' But rather ' in fighting. ' One may 
it is a question whether Tacitus notice that this passage ill harmonizes 
does not intend a sort of tragic with the common story, that Vin- 
irony, ' who already showed that dex's overthrow was due only to an 
they had forgotten the authority of almost accidental collision between 
Rome ' which a few months later his forces and those of Verginius. 
they defied. 2 occasione] Almost ' on the 

5 gratuitos] Without constraint, opportune pretext : ' he was glad of 
as well as without payment. any fair excuse for raising money. 

8 Fabius] Elsewhere if he is 3 discretis connexum] A sort of 

designated by one name it is Valens, oxymoron : hatred served to bridge 

but here of course it is desired to the river — to unite those, between 

contrast him with Manlius. whom the division was so narrow, 

Ch. LXV. 1 proximum bellum] in the bonds of a common enmity. 
That with Vindex. 


odium. Igitur Lugdunenses exstimulare singulos militum 
et in eversionem Viennensium impellere, obsessam ab illis 
coloniam suam, adjutos Vindicis conatus, conscriptas nuper 
legiones in praesidium Galbae referendo. Et ubi causas A 
odiorum praetenderant, magnitudinem praedae ostendebant. 
Nee jam secreta exhortatio, sed publicae preces : irent 
ultores, exscinderent sedem Gallici belli. Cuncta illic ex- 5 
terna et hostilia : se coloniam Romanam et partem exercitus 
et prosperarum adversarumque rerum socios. Si fortuna 
66 contra daret, iratis ne relinquerentur. His et pluribus in 
eundem modum perpulerant ut ne legati quidem ac duces 
partium restingui posse iracundiam exercitus arbitrarentur, 
cum haud ignari discriminis sui Viennenses, velamenta et 
infulas praeferentes, ubi agmen incesserat, anna,' genua, 
vestigia prensando flexere militum animos. Addidit Valens 2 
trecenos singulis militibus sestertios. Turn vetustas dignitas- 
que coloniae valuit, et verba Fabii salutem incolumitatemque 
Viennensium commendantis aequis auribus accepta. Publice 3 
tarn en armis multati, privatis et promiscuis copiis juvere 
militem. Sed fama constans fuit *. ipsum Valentem magna 4 
pecunia emptum. Is diu sordidus, repente dives mutation em 
fortunae male tegebat, accensis egestate longa cupidinibus 

4 Nee jam] Both the grounds out any justification for it existing, 
for the exhortatio were too dis- They say, ' We are Roman colonists; 
creditable to be made public, for they, though called so, are rather 
loyalty to Galba could hardly be foreigners and enemies/ But there 
called treason even against Vitellius, may be an allusion to Vienna being 
any more than plunder avowed as a the old capital of the Allobroges. 
motive for war. But when real and Ch. LX VI. I vestigia] A some- 
definite motives had been suggested, what more humble or more forcible 
vague generalities might act as form of the same action as is implied 
reminders of them, when enforced in genua, holding their feet so that 
with all public circumstance. they could not take a step. Com- 

5 Cuncta . . . Romanam] Yet pare Ann. i. 13. 9. 

in the next c. we read that Vienna 2 turn perhaps balances the nee 

was also a Roman colony. Pro- jam of 65. 4; money was the 

bably the sentiment is merely given turning-point, for or against. 

as that of the Lugdunese, with- 4 sordidus must be meant of 


inmoderatus, et inopi juventa senex prodigus. Lento deinde 5 
agmine per fines Allobrogum ac Vocontiorum ductus ex- 
ercitus, ipsa itinerum spatia et stativorum mutationes vendi- 
tante duce, foedis pactiorribus adversus possessores agrorum 
et magistratus civitatum, adeo minaciter ut Luco (municipium 
id Vocontiorum est,) faces admoverit, donee pecunia mitiga- 
retur. Quoties pecuniae materia deesset, stupris et adulteriis 6 
exorabatur. Sic ad Alpes perventum. 
67 Plus praedae ac sanguinis Caecina hausit. Inritaverant' 
turbidum ingenium Helvetii, Gallica gens, olim armis virisque, 
mox memoria nominis clara, de caede Galbae ignari et 
Vitellii inperium abnuentes. Initium bello fait avaritia ac 2 
festinatio unetvicesimae legionis. Rapuerant pecuniam 
missam'in stipendium castelli, quod olim Helvetii suis mili- 
tibus ac stipendiis tuebantur. Aegre id passi Helvetii, inter- 3 
ceptis epistolis quae nomine Germanici exercitus ad Pannonicas 
legiones ferebantur, centurionem et quosdam militum in 
custodia retinebant. Caecina belli avidus proximam quamque 4 

his circumstances, not his character, 2 Rapuerant] Their distinctive 

which does not appear to have been title was Rapax, which perhaps 

improved by his wealth. Tacitus is playing on. The act 

5 ipsa . . . venditante] He let was plainly before Caecina's ap- 
it be known how long he meant proach. 

each day's march to be, and then olim . . . stipendiis] They used 

altered his plans for money ; he to pay the garrison while it consisted 

further altered for money the dis- of their own countrymen : now 

tribution of the permanent garrisons troops in Roman pay were sent 

of the country. there. But the legionaries seized 

6 pecuniae materia] Not ' an the money belonging to the garri- 
occasion for making money,' but son, and told the latter they might 
'wealth for him to make money make the Helvetii pay as they 
out of.' used. 

Ch. LXVII. i olim .. . clara] 3 proximam quamque] /The 

He is thinking of the conquering first that offered itself.' Quisque, 

migration repelled by Caesar, in being rather a distributive pronoun 

the first year of his command in than an indefinite, almost always 

Gaul. has a word joined with it to indicate 

de caede Galbae ignari accounts the principle of selection or rule of 

for Vitellii inperium abnuentes ; as distribution, and the use with the 

in 64. 2 they would not have risked superlative is only one branch of 

anything for Otho. this. 



culpam, antequam paeniteret, ultum ibat. Mota propere 
castra, vastati agri, direptus longa pace in modum mimicipii 
exstructus locus, amoeno salubrium aquarum usu frequens. 
Missi ad Raetica auxilia nuntii, ut versos in iegionem 5 
68 Helvetios a tergo adgrederentur. Illi ante discrimen feroces, 
in periculo pavidi, quamquam primo tumultu Claudium 
Severum ducem legerant, non arma noscere, non ordines 
sequi, non in unum consulere. Exitiosum adversus veteranos 2 
proelium, intuta obsidio dilapsis vetustate moenibus. Hinc 
Caecina cum valido exercitu, inde Raeticae alae cohortesque 
et ipsorum Raetorum juventus, sueta armis et more militiae 
exercita. Undique populatio et caedes. Ipsi in medio vagi, 
abjectis armis, magna pars sauciL aut palantes, in montem 
Vocetium perfugere. Ac statim inmissa cohorte Thracum 4 
depulsi, et, consectantibus Germanis Raetisque, per silvas 
atque in ipsis latebris trucidati. Multa hominum milia' caesa, S 

4 antequam paeniteret] The 

subj. because it was his conscious 
object, * without allowing them 
time to repent.' 

locus . . . frequens] It was 
called Vicus Aquensis, now the 
Swiss Baden. Usu seems deter- 
mined by the epithet amoeno to 
mean frequenting the place rather 
than using the waters : it was in 
fact a ' watering-place ' in our sense, 
recommended by fashion quite as 
much as by sanitary considerations, 
and perhaps more by the pretty 
scenery than modern romanticists 
generally allow. 

5 Raetica] They were natural 
enemies to the Helvetii, as being 
both near neighbours and totally 
different in race and language. We 
may certainly take Caesar's and 
Tacitus' word for these being 
Gauls, and probably Livy's (v. 33 
fin.) for those being akin to the 

Ch. LXVIIT. 1 tumultu] 
* Alarm' is perhaps the nearest 

English word : it is a technical 
designation for a war at the gates. 
The locus classicus for this use is 
Cic. Phil. viii. 1. 2, 3 ; see also 
the commentators on Aen. viii. 4. 

non arma noscere] 'Failed to 
recognise the arms ' to which they 
were appointed ; though not utterly 
ignorant of soldiership, they had 
not the special training required for 
each ' arm ' of the service, and did 
not fall into their places in a mili- 
tary organization. 

2 proelium . . . obsidio] Tacitus 
seems to intimate that first one and 
then the other actually took place. 

ipsorum R. juventus] The Rae- 
tians as a nation turning out to 
arms — not only the enrolled con- 
tingent who constituted the alae 

4 Germanis] Auxiliaries attached 
to the legiones Germanicae, and 
apparently organized very much 
like legionaries, as in 70. 3 we 
hear of their being constituted into a 
vexillum, as well as ordinary cohortes. 



multa sub corona venumdata. Cumque dirutis omnibus 
Aventicum gentis caput justo agmine peteretur, missi qui 
dederent civitatem ; et deditio accepta. In Julium Alpinum 6 
e principibus, ut concitorem belli, Caecina animadvertit : 
69 ceteros veniae vel saevitiae Vitellii reliquit. Haud facile 
dictu est, legati Helvetiorum minus placabilem imperatorem 
an militem invenerint. Civitatis excidium poscunt, tela ac 2 
manus in ora legatorum intentant. Ne Vitellius quidem 
minis ac verbis temperabat, cum Claudius Cossus, unus ex 
legatis, notae facundiae, sed dicendi artem apta trepidatione 
occultans atque eo validior, militis animum mitigavit, ut est 
mos vulgo, mutabilem subitis et tarn pronum in misericordiam 
quam immodicus saevitia fuerat. EfTusis lacrimis, et meliora 3 
constantiiis postulando, impunitatem salutemque civitati im- 

5, 6] It appears there really 
was a Dea Aventica of the town 
Aventicum (the modern Avenches) 
— from which facts, combined with 
those of the text, Wilhelm con- 
structed his forgery of the pretty 
inscription celebrated by Byron 
{Childe Harold, iii. 66, n 16). He 
imagined a daughter of this Alpinus 
interceding to Caecina for his life : 
Byron, in ignorance of the real 
story, imagined a fictitious one, as 
with Bonnivard, while Simpkinson 
supplied a poetical treatment of the 
real one. But the spuriousness of 
the inscription is beyond question. 

Ch. LXIX. i] Here commences 
a lacuna in M. , reaching to 75. 4 ; 
for the intervening chapters we are 
dependent on copies of M. made 
before its mutilation, which in other 
parts of it are of no practical value. 

2 Claudius] One MS. has Cor- 
nelius, but the collocation of the 
names Cornelius Cossus might occur 
to a transcriber from his reading ; 
while we have no instance (at least 
as early as this) of a patrician cog- 
nomen being assumed by one of the 

new citizens affiliated to a patrician 
house. It is credible enough that 
one of the innumerable Claudii of 
Gaul (59. 1) should have taken a 
name from early Roman history ; 
on the other hand, it was not rare 
for noble families to sink out of 
view under Augustus or Tiberius, 
their representatives retiring or 
being expelled from the Senate ; so 
he may have been a real patrician 
Cossus after all, a son or grandson 
of one so attainted. 

eo validior] One might illustrate 
from the story told of Lord Ashley's 
speech on trials for treason (Mac- 
aulay, c. 21). 

immodicus . . . fuerat] The 
Mss. have immodicum, which some- 
would retain, omitting fuerat. But 
the insertion of the plup. is more 
like Tacitus than a copyist ; the 
tense is determined rather by its 
fitness to the special case of this 
army than to the general principle 
ut est mos vulgo. 

impunitatem salutemque] Rather 
an anticlimax, ' that the city should 
neither be punished nor destroyed.' 


70 petravere. Caecina paucos in Helvetiis moratus dies, dum 
sententiae Vitellii certior fieret, simul transitum Alpium 
parans, laetum ex Italia nuntium accipit, alam Silianam circa 
Padum agentem sacramento Vitellii accessisse. Proconsulem 2 
Vitellium Siliani in Africa habuerant ; rnox a Nerone, ut 
in Aegyptum praemitterentur, exciti, et ob bellum Vindicis 
revocati, ac-tum in Italia manentes, instinctu decurionum, qui 
Othonis ignari, Vitellio obstricti robur adventantiurn legionum 
et famam Germanici exercitus attollebant, transiere in partes, 
et ut donum aliquod novo principi, nrmissima Transpadanae 
regionis municipia; Mediolamim ac Novariam et Eporediam 
ac Vercellas adjunxere. Id Caecinae per ipsos compertum. 
Et quia praesidio alae unius latissima Italiae pars defendi 3 
nequibat, praemissis Gallorum Lusitanorum Britannorumque 
cohortibus et Germanorum vexillis cum ala Petrina, ipse 
paululum cunctatus num Raeticis jugis in Noricum flecteret 
adversus Petronium f urbi ( Urbicum V) procuratorem, qui con- 
citis auxiliis et interruptis fluminum pontibus iidus Othoni 
putabatur. Sed metu ne amitteret praemissas jam cohortes 4 
alasque, simul reputans plus gloriae retenta Italia, et ubi- 

Ch. LXX. Silianam] So M. ala Petrina] Again the name is 
at ii. 17. 1 ; here some mss. have corrupt in the mss., and the text 
Silanam and most Stcllanam. It is restored almost with certainty- 
had probably been enrolled by C. from iv. 49. 3. Perhaps the name 
Silius, legate of Upper Germany is derived from a member ot the 
under Tiberius (father of the biga- equestrian family of Petra, Ann. 
mous husband of Messallina). Their xi. 4. 1. 

connexion with that province Urbicum] The mss. have urbi 

accounts for famam Germanici ex- or urbis, but the word must be a 

ercitus attollebant, as Proconsulem disguise either for the name of his 

V. in Africa kabuerant does for province (if so, Norici is suggested), 

Vitellio obstricti. or his own cognomen, and the sur- 

3 per ipsos] He received the name Urbicus is found (not how- 
news before crossing the Alps that ever in the Petronia gens) in Ann. 
they meant to join him, but it was xi. 35. 6. Petronius Turpilianus 
not till he actually reached them (a name which some think of as not 
that he found that they brought very unlike) had been put to death, 
over these towns with them. sup. 6. 2, but of course this may 

Gallorum * . . vexillis] All have been a relation and namesake, 

auxiliary troops, the legion being 4 retenta] He was afraid that 

implied in ipse, but see on 68. 4. Italy, if not occupied in force, would 



cunque eertatum foret, Noricos in cetera victoriae praemia 
cessuros, Poenino itinere subsignanum militum et grave 
legionum agmen hibernis adhuc Alpibus traduxit. 
7 1 Otho interim, contra spem omnium, non deliciis neque 
desidia torpescere. Dilatae voluptates, dissimulata luxuria, et 
cuncta ad decorem imperii composita. Eoque plus formidinis 2 
afferebant falsae virtutes et vitia reditura. Marium Gelsum 3 
cqnsulem designatum, per speciem vinculorum saevitiae 
militum subtractum, acciri in Capitolium jubet. Clementiae 4 
titulus e viro claro et partibus inviso petebatur. Celsus con- 
stanter servatae erga Galbam fidei crimen confessus, exemplum 
ultro imputavit. Nee Otho quasi ignosceret, sed tne hostes 5 
metueret conciliationis adhibens,t statim inter intimos amicos 

appear to have been seized and lost 

subsignanum militum] Accord- 
ing to Or., no more than a hen- 
diadys with grave . . . agmen, 
according to C. and B., synony- 
mous with vexillarii. 

legionum] But Caecina had only 
one legion, the 21st, 61. 2. Or. 
supposes that he may have had 
detachments from others, which 
that passage does not exclude ; but 
whether or no, it is perhaps the 
best explanation of the plural that 
it is used vaguely, almost as i.q. 
iegionariorum . 

Ch. LXXI. 1 dissimulata lux- 
uria} Not that he indulged in 
luxury, but concealed the fact ; he 
concealed (by not indulging) his 
taste for luxury. The word is 
similarly used of the inclination 
rather than the habit in Juv. xv. 45. 

composita, like the colloquial 
English 'made up,' suggests that it 
was hypocritical ; but one can 
scarcely translate it by a more defi- 
nite word than ' arranged. 5 

3 subtractum] Sup. 45. 5 ; cf. 
58. 1, 2. 

4 Clementiae . . . petebatur] 

It was his object to gain a con- 
spicuous credit for clemency, in 
the case of a/- conspicuous and 
recognised opponent. 

exemplum ultro imputavit] 
(Did not stop with the confession, 
but) ' went on to claim as a merit 
the having set the fashion of fidelity. ' 

5] Two mss. read as Or., and 
the most conservative course pos- 
sible is either to read conciliationes 
or to understand -nis as an accusa- 
tive termination. Other mss. have 
ne hostis metum reconciliationis ad- 
hiberet, which, as it stands, can only 
mean (if anything), ' lest the enemy 
(Vitellius) should occasion to him 
(Otho) fear of his (Celsus') being 
reconciled to him (Vitellius).' But 
when had Celsus and Vitellius 
quarrelled? C. and B. adopt this 
reading, with the single change of 
reconciliationiiox -nis, and translate, 
' unwilling to blend with the grace 
of reconciliation the memory of 
past hostility,' the last four words 
being a paraphrase of hostis 7?ietum. 
Others would translate the same 
text, * lest he should bring into his 
reconciliation the fear that he was 
still an enemy} 'or reading hosti . . . 



habuit, et mox bello inter duces delegit. Mansitque Celso, 6 
.velut fataliter, etiam pro Othone fides Integra et infelix. 
Laeta primoribus,civitatis, celebrata in volgus Celsi salus ne 7 
militibus quidem ingrata fuit, eandem virtutem admirantibus 
72 cui irascebantur. Par inde exsultatio disparibus causis con- 
secuta, impetrato Tigellini exitio. Sophonius Tigellinus, 2 
obscuris parentibus, foeda pueritia, impudica senecta, prae- 
fecturam vigilum et praetorii et alia praemia virtutum quia 
velocius erat vitiis adeptus, crudelitatem mox, deinde avari- 
tiam et virilia scelera exercuit, corrupto ad omne facinus 
Nerone, quaedam ignaro ausus, ac postremo ejusdem de- 
sertor ac proditor. Unde non alium pertinacius ad poenam 3 
flagitavere, diverso affectu, quibus odium Neronis inerat et 
quibus desiderium. Apud Galbam Titi Vinii potentia de- 4~ 
fensus, praetexentis servatam ab eo filiam. Et haud dubie 
servaverat, non dementia, quippe tot interfectis, sed effugium 

reconciliations, translate ' make the 
enemy afraid [to trust the sincerity] 
of his overtures ' (the overtures of 
c. 74). 

One thing seems certain, that if 
hostis be right, it must mean Vitel- 
lius, not Celsus. Though properly 
a foreign enemy, it can be used of 
a rebel in arms against the state (see 
84. 8), but not of a partisan hostile, 
within the limits of patriotism, to a 
de facto sovereign. For the rest, we 
have two possible meanings for the 
sentence as a whole : * Otho did not 
sincerely pardon him, but spared 
him as a measure for his own 
security,' or ' Otho took the tone, 
not of one pardoning a criminal, 
but conciliating an honourable op- 
ponent ' ; the former view seems 
supported by the parallel passage 
of Plutarch, the latter by that of 
Dio. The reading must be deter- 
mined according to which of these 
seems intrinsically the likeliest ; 
with that of the text, we must 

translate, 'Otho, not as though 
pardoning him, but employing con- 
ciliatory measures to prevent his 
having need to fear the enemy,' 
which is harsh, no doubt, but not 
quite impossible Latin. 

bello] Probably dative. 

6 integra et infelix] Tacitus is 
fond of using the simple et thus, 
with a special, often ironical, force ; 
e.g. inf. 76. 2, ii. 49. 8. 

Ch. LXXII. 2 quia velocius 
erat might mean that Tigellinus. 
chose the path of vice deliberately, 
as the shortest way to honour ; but 
it seems to harmonize better with. 
Tacitus' view of his character to 
say, 'he succeeded in his ambition, 
because vice was the shortest way 
to success.' 

virilia scelera] Having gained 
his position by the vices of a 
woman, he hoped to retain it by 
the vices of a man. 

4 non dementia . . . sed ef- 
fugium] Cf. sup. 44. 3. 



in futurum, quia pessimus quisque, diffidentia praesentium 
mutationem pavens, ad versus publicum odium privatam 
gratiam praeparat; unde nulla innocentiae cura, sed vices 
impunitatis. Eo infensior populus, addita ad vetus Tigellini 5 
odium recenti Titi Vinii invidia, concurrere e tota urbe in 
Palatium ac fora, et ubi plurima volgi licentia, in circum ac 
theatra effusi seditionis vocibus obstrepere ; donee Tigellinus, 
accepto apud Sinuessanas aquas supremae necessitatis nuntio, 
inter stupra concubinarum et oscula et deformes moras, sectis 
novacula faucibus, infamem vitam foedavit etiam exitu sero 
73 et inhonesto. Per idem tempus expostulata ad supplicium 
Galvia Crispinilla variis frustrationibus et, adversa dissimu- 
lantis principis fama, periculo exempta est. Magistra libi- 2 
dinum Neronis, transgressa in Africam ad instigandum in 

nulla . . . impunitatis] They 
do not take the precaution of abs- 
taining from crimes, but leave the 
crimes of others unpunished, that 
these in turn may leave their own. 

5 odium . . . invidia] The 
former is the more definite and 
active feeling ; it also perhaps im- 
plies more positively ill deeds of its 
object as its foundation. 

seditionis] It would be tempting 
to read seditiosis. 

Sinuessanas aquas] He had, 
no doubt, gone there for the baths, 
which, as at Baiae, would attract a 
miscellaneous and dissolute society. 
But, according to Plutarch, he 
attempted to escape by sea, which 
it seems strange to us that scarcely 
any victims of the suprema neces- 
sitas (sup. 3. 1.) thought of doing. 

deformes moras] According to 
Plutarch, he offered bribes to the 
messenger ; the bribe being re- 
jected, then offered it as a present ; 
then (like Landor's dying French- 
man) asked to be allowed to shave, 
and used the opportunity to cut 
his throat with the razor. 

foedavit . . . inhonesto] Taci- 
tus probably accepts the same 
account as Plutarch, though he 
gives fewer details; but he thinks 
it improper to have made any 
effort at all for life, and perhaps 
applies to his mode of death a con- 
ventional standard of propriety : 
to cut your own throat was dis- 
gusting ; a gentleman should bleed 
to death, or perhaps starve, if there 
was no hurry. See the note on 
c. 3. I, also Merivale, Romans 
under the Empire, vol. v. c. 46, for 
illustrations of the sentiments de- 
termining the etiquette in these 
matters of honour. Plutarch gives, 
and probably meant to give, the 
impression that Tigellinus 'did it 
after the high Roman fashion,' as 
well as the more gentlemanly pro- 
fligates Asiaticus, Petronius, and 

Ch. LXXIII. 1 dissimulantis] 
Probably 'disguising his purpose 
towards her. ' 

2 Magistra libidinum Neronis] 
' She had instructed Nero in profli- 
gacy,' C. and B. ; rather had 


arma Clodium Macrum, faraem populo Romano haud obscure 
mblita, totius postea civitatis gratiam obtinuit, consulari 
matrimonio subnixa et ap'ud Galbam Othonem Vitellium 
illaesa, mox potens pecunia et orbitate, quae bonis malisque 
temporibus juxta valent. 
74 Crebrae interim, et muliebribus blandimentis infectae, ab 
Othone ad Vitellium epistolae offerebant pecuniam et gratiam 
et quemcunque quietis locum prodigae vitae legisset. Paria 2 
Vitellius ostentabat, primo mollius, stulta utrinque et indecora 
simulatione : mox, quasi rixantes, stupra et flagitia in vicem 
objectavere, neuter falso. Otho, revocatis quos Galba 3 
miserat legatis, rursus alios ad utrumque Germanicum ex- 
ercitum et ad legionem Italicam easque quae Lugduni 
agebant copias specie senatus misit. Legati a pud Vitellium 4 
remansere, promptius quam ut retenti viderentur. Praetoriani, 
quos per simulationem officii legatis Otho adjunxerat, remissi 
antequam legionibus miscerentur. Addidit epistolas Fabius 5 

managed and arranged the require- 3 quos Galba miserat] Sup. 

ments of his profligate taste. The 19. 4-6. 

title is a less euphemistic feminine specie] More ironical than nom- 

for that of Petronius, arbiter ine, i under colour of being the 

Harum, It does not mean Senate's delegates,' not Otho's per- 

that she was Nero's * mistress. ' sonally. The point is, that Vitel- 

Clodium Macrum] Sup. 7. 1. lius is called on to submit, not 

bonis . . . temporibus] Under to Otho, a rival claimant of sover- 

Vespasian, for she can hardly have eignty on equal terms with himself, 

lived to the times of Nerva or but to the Senate, whose unques- 

• Trajan. tioned right it was to exercise, 

Ch. LXXIV. i] According to or at least to assign, the sover- 

Suetonius and Dio, he even offered eignty. 

him a share in the empire, and — 4 per simulationem officii] 

what may more easily be believed ' Under pretence of compliment,' 

— proposed to marry his daughter ; really to prevent their deserting as 

he was still caelebs (13. 5), and she they actually did. They pretended 

can hardly yet have married Asiati- not to be able to trust their escort, 

cus (59. 4). if admitted to intercourse with the 

2 neuter falso] The stories enemy's troops ; really the escort 

against Vitellius were however old ; was, as Otho knew, more trust - 

he was by this time past giving worthy than they, 

scandal, however contemptible, ii. remissi] Probably by Vitellius, . 
31. 1. - not by the legates. 


Valens, nomine Germanici exercitus, ad praetorias et urbanas 
cohortes, de viribus partium magnificas et concordiam 
offerentes. Increpabat ultro quod tanto ante traditum 6 

75 Vitellio imperium ad Othonem vertissent. Ita promissis simul 
ac minis tentabantur, ut bello impares, in pace nihil amissuri. 
Neque ideo praetorianorum fides mutata. Sed insidiatores ab 2 
Othone in Germaniam, a Vitellio in urbem missi. Utrisque 
frustra fuit, Vitellianis impune, per tantam hominum multitu- 
dinem mutua ignorantia fallentibus : Othoniani novitate voltus, 
omnibus in vicem gnaris, prodebantur. Vitellius literas ad 3 
Titianum fratrem Othonis composuit, exitium ipsi filioque 
ejus minitans, ni incolumes sibi mater ac liberi servarentur. 
Et stetit domus utraque, sub Othone incertum an metu : 4 

76 Vitellius victor clementiae gloriam tulit. Primus Othoni 
fiduciam addidit ex Illyrico nuntius, jurasse in eum Dalmatiae 
ac Pannoniae et Moesiae legiones. Idem ex Hispania ad- 2 
latum, laudatusque per edictum Cluvias Rufus : et statim 
cognitum est conversam ad Vitellium Hispaniam. Ne Aqui- 3 
tania quidem, quamquam ab Julio Cordo in verba Othonis 
obstricta, diu mansit. Nusquam fides aut amor : metu ac 4 
necessitate hue illuc mutabantur. Eadem formido provinciam 
Narbonensem ad Vitellium vertit, facili transitu ad proximos 
et validiores. Longinquae provinciae, et quicquid armorum 5 
mari dirimitur, penes Othonem manebant, non partium studio ; 

5 praetorias et urbanas cohortes] opposite effects be ascribed to the 
See Ann. iv. 5. 4. same cause. 

6 tanto ante] About a fortnight, 4 incertum an implies not 
comparing c. 57 with 27. indeed that it was likely, but it was 

Ch. LXXV. 1 Ita . . . ut . . .] 'The at any rate .the received hypothesis, 

combination of promises and threats Ch. LXX VI. 1 Dalmatiae . . . legio- 

used to tempt them rested on the nes] They at least were sincere in 

assumption that they were unequal their attachment to him, ii. 85 sq. 

to war, while it was promised that 4 mutabantur] ' They changed 

they should lose nothing by peace.' sides,' a middle rather than passive. 

2 gnaris] The mss. have igna- facili . . . validiores] Probably 
ris ; the correction seems necessary, a general sentiment, ' since it is 
as otherwise it would be a mere easy to go over to one's next neigh- 
repetition of mutua ignorantia^ and bour's side, when it is also the 


sed erat grande momentum in nomine urbis ac praetexto 
senatus, et occupaverat animos prior auditus. Judaicum 6 
exercitum Vespasianus, Suriae legiones Mucianus Sacramento 
Othonis adegere. Simul Aegyptus omnesque versae in 7 
Orientem provinciae nomine ejus tenebantur. Idem Africae 
obsequium, initio Karthagine orto. Neque exspectata Vip- 8 
stani Aproniani proconsulis auctoritate, Crescens Neronis. 
libertus (nam et hi malls temporibus partem se rei publicae 
faciunt,) epulum plebi, ob laetitiam recentis imperii, obtulerat, 
et populus pleraque sine modo festinavit. Karthaginem 9 
ceterae civitates secutae. 
77 Sic distractis exercitibus ac provinces, Vitellio quidem ad 
capessendam principatus fortunam bello opus erat ; Otho ut 
in multa pace munia imperii obibat, quaedam ex dignitate 
rei publicae, pleraque contra decus ex praesenti usu pro- 
perando. Consul cum Titiano fratre in Kalendas Martias 2 
ipse ; proximos menses Verginio destinat ut aliquod exercitui 
Germanico deleriimentum. Jungitur Verginio Pompeius 3 
Vopiscus praetexto veteris amicitiae ; plerique Viennensium 

stronger.' Proximos must mean i.e. competing with the recognised 

Gaul and Spain, not the Vitellian governing order. - 
party generally, or it would have to pleraque] Most of the customary 

be comparative, like validiores. rejoicings at an accession were 

5 praetexto] We had praetextu celebrated spontaneously ; those 

in much the same sense in 19. 5 ; that cost money were provided at 

for here, and in iii. 80. 2, the sense Crescens' expense ; then Aproni- 

seems to be 'under the fair show,' anus and the government found 

rather than ' under th.e feigned show.' themselves committed to a side, and 

But the neuter form is in these did not care to change it. 
passages presented by M., and is Ch. LXXVII. i distractis] In 

also used by Seneca. the most literal sense, * drawn to one 

prior auditus] 'The (candidate) or other of the opposite sides.' 

first heard of ; ' a participle, not a After exercitibus there are traces of 

verbal substantive. a short word lost ; Or. suggests 

8 nam et hi . . . faciunt] Con- P. R. 
trast above 4. 3, and the note 2 menses] Julius Caesar had 

there. Tacitus saw that the freed- introduced this custom of appointing 

men formed as respectable a class pairs of consuls' or less than/a 

as any of the ' passive citizens,' but twelvemonth ; see iii. 37 fin. 
objected to any of them < making 3 Viennensium] Who might else 

themselves an element in the state,' be irritated by a compliment to 



honori datum interpretabantur. Ceteri consulatus ex destina- 4 
tione Neronis aut Galbae mansere, Caelio ac Flavio Sabinis in 
Julias, Arrio Antonino et Mario Celso in Septembres ; quorum 
honori ne Vitellius quidem victor intercessit. ^Sed Otho ponti- 5 
ficatus ciuguratusque honoratis jam senibus cumulum dignitatis 
addidit ; aut recens ab exsilio reversos nobiles adulescentulos 
avitis ac paternis sacerdotiis in solatium recoluit. Redditus 6 
Cadio Rufo, Pedio Blaeso, Saevino Pomptinio senatorius locus. 
Repetundarum criminibus sub Claudio ac Nerone ceciderant : 
placuit ignoscentibus verso nomine, quod avaritia fuerat, videri 
78 majestatem, cujus turn odio etiam bonae leges peribant. Eadem 
largitione civitatium quoque ac provinciarum animos adgressus, 
Hispaliensibus et Emeritensibus familiarum adjectiones, Lingo- 
nibus universis civitatem Romanam, provinciae Baeticae 
Maurorum civitates dono dedit ; nova jura Cappadociae, nova 

their conqueror ; in c. 65 we heard 
of their activity on the side of Vindex. 

4 Flavio Sabinis] Apparently 
not the brother of Vespasian ; for 
in ii. 36. 4, this man seems 
accounted for away from Rome, 
where we hear of the other in ii. 
55. 2. The P. Sabinus of iii. 36. 4 
is again doubtless different from 
any of these. 

Arrio Antonino] Maternal grand- 
father of Antoninus Pius. 

Julias . . . Septembres] The 
sense makes it clear that we are to 
supply Kalendas, though we have to 
look as far back as § 2 for the word. 

5 sed] Tac. has hardly yet left 
the subject of what was done ex 
dignitate reip. : the only contrast is, 
between Otho's leaving the consul- 
ships alone, and filling up the 
priesthoods with fresh blood. 

6 placuit ignoscentibus] All 
* political offences ' were lumped to- 
gether in the popular, or at least 
the senatorial, mind ; men con- 
demned for treason were looked on 
as victims, not as criminals, and in 

consequence, says Tacitus, even 
good laws began to go for nothing, 
and their effects to be reversed ; i.e. 
a man was held to be a victim not 
a criminal, if he had been con- 
demned for anything. 

Ch. LXXVIII. i familiarum ad- 
jectiones] It was an ancient method 
of reinforcing a colony to ' add new 
households,' i.e. send out a fresh 
batch of colonists. But now of 
course the ' addition of households ' 
meant, not sending out more Roman 
citizens to Seville and Merida, but 
admitting more natives of the towns 
to the status of colonists, i.e. to 
Roman citizenship. 

Lingonibus] The Gallic Lingones 
had been disgraced by Galba, 53. 
5 ; but we have no evidence that 
they had not, like the rest of Gaul, 
received citizenship already. There 
may have been a Spanish tribe of 
the same name, or perhaps the word 
is corrupt, but no real tribe is 
known whose name can be probably 

Maurorum civitates] Their re- 



Africae, ostenta magis quam mansura. Inter quae, necessitate 2 
praesentium rerum et iristantibus curis excusata, ne turn quidem 
immemor amorum, statuas Poppaeae per senatus consultum 
reposuit. Creditus est etiam de celebranda Neronis raemoria 3 
agitavisse, spe volgum alliciendi. Et fuere qui imagines 
Neronis proponerent ; atque etiam Othoni quibusdam diebus 
populus et miles, tamquam nobilitatem ac decus adstruerent, 
' Neroni Othoni,' acclamavit. Ipse in suspenso tenuit, vetandi 4 
metu vel agnoscendi pudore. 
79 Conversis ad civile bellum animis externa sine cura habe- 
bantur. Eo audentius Rhoxolani, Sarmatica gens, priore 
hieme caesis duabus cohortibus, magna spe ad Moesiam 
inruperant, novem milia equitum, ex ferocia et successu praedae 
magis quam pugnae intenta. Igitur vagos et incuriosos tertia 
legio, adjunctTs auxiliis, repente invasit. Apud Romanos omnia 
praelio apta : Sarmatae dispersi aut cupidine praedae graves 

venues, and a jurisdiction probably 
lucrative as well as complimentary. 

ostenta magis quam mansura] 
i.e. they were cancelled by Vitellius 
almost as soon as the news came 
of their being promised by Otho. 

2] We have passed gradually to 
pleraque contra decus. Tacitus 
began with the honourable routine 
of public business, then passed to 
excusable measures of policy, and 
then to thoroughly indecent acts of 
indulgence to passion — Otho's own 
or the people's. 

ne turn quidem] The crisis, 
which gave the excuse of policy to 
some questionable acts, ought to 
have driven out of his head any ques- 
tionable act that was not even politic. 

3 proponerent] Set up in public 
places — it does not appear whether 
new ones or old ones brought out 
of hiding. 

Neroni Othoni] It seems from 
Plutarch, that the title was so far 
officially adopted as to be used in 
despatches sent to Spain — possibly 

we are to understand that Rufus 
made it the pretext of his revolt. 
One should remember, that Otho 
was just as much a Nero as he was 
a Caesar — the object may have been 
to connect himself with the dynasty 
as much as with the individual. 

4 vel] Tacitus suggests two 
possible motives for his indecision : 
either (wishing to reject) he was 
afraid to reject, or (wishing to 
accept) he was ashamed to accept. 

Ch. LXXIX. 1 sine cura haoe- 
bantur] Probably, 'were considered 
to be free from anxiety/ One could 
scarcely say sine cura habere in the 
sense of 'to treat or regard care- 
Zessly.' Yet this might perhaps be 
excused by the use of certain other 
prepositions with habeo, e.g. pro 
certo habere^ and still more aliquem 
in mehi habere. 

ad Moesiam inruperant] ' Had 
made an incursion on the borders of,' 
— in or the simple ace. would have 
implied a longer successful advance. 

3 dispersi . . . graves] It has 



onere sarcinarum, et lubrico itinerum adempta equorum pernici- 
tate, velut vincti caedebantur. Namque mirum dictu ut sit 4 
omnis Sarmatarum virtus velut extra ipsos : nihil ad pedestrem 
pugnam tam ignavum ; ubi per turmas advenere, vix ulla acies 
obstiterit. Sed turn humido die et soluto gelu neque conti 
neque gladii, quos praelongos utraque manu regunt, usui, 
lapsantibus equis et cataphraetarum pondere. Id principibus 6 
et nobilissimo cuique tegimen, ferreis laminis aut praeduro 
corio consertum, ut adversus ictus impenetrabile, ita impetu 
hostium provolutis inhabile ad resurgendum ; simul altitudine 
et mollitia nivis hauriebantur. Romanus miles facilis lorica et 7 
missili pilo aut lanceis adsultans, ubi res posceret, levi gladio 
inermem Sarmatam (neque enim scuto defendi mos est,) 
comminus fodiebat, donee pauci, qui praelio superfuerant, 
paludibus abderentur : ibi saevitia hiemis et vi volnerum 
absurnpti. Postquam id Romae compertum, M. Aponius 

been proposed to put the aut after 
praedae ; but Tacitus thought that 
would make the balance with onere 
sarcinarum too formal. Besides, 
it was not so much their booty that 
encumbered them as their reluctance 
to drop it. 

4, 5] It is tempting to connect 
these wild and irresistible horsemen 
of the Don with the Cossacks of 
modern times ; but it should be 
remembered that the country has 
been traversed by almost all the 
waves of immigration into Europe. 

quos praelongos] The ante- 
cedent is probably conti as well as 
gladii. The adj. is thrown into the 
relative clause that it may account 
for utraque manu regunt, i which 
from their excessive length they 
manage . . .' 

7 facilis] Just the opposite of 
the previous inhabile, only applying 
to the person, as that to the thing. 

lorica] Yet Livy (xxxvii. 40) 
gives loricatus as a translation of 

cataphractus. The fact is, lorica is 
used of any body-armour, but that 
of a Roman soldier was what the 
name ought etymologically to mean, 
of leathern thongs, and so flexible, 
while that of the cataphracti was 
stiff, even if not very heavy. One 
might compare the account of the 
cruppellarii, Ann. iii. 43. 3, 46. 6, 
who were more utterly helpless — 
like the men in plate armour of the 
15th century : these were embar- 
rassed rather than disabled by their 
armour, even when dismounted, 
like the knights in chain mail of the 
earlier middle ages. 

inermem] There was no mean 
between the full armour of the 
nobles and none at all. Or it may 
mean, they had lost their clumsy 
offensive weapons in the fall. 

hiemis et vi] These words are 
corrupt in M., which has (an ab- 
breviation standing for) hie miseria ; 
of which the reading of the text is 
the least violent emendation. 




Moesiam obtinens triumphali statua, Fulvius Aurelius et 
Julianus Titius ac Numisius Lupus legati legionum consularibus 
ornamentis donantur, laeto Othone et gloriam in se trahente, 
tanquam et ipse felix bello, et suis ducibus suisque exercitibus 
rem publicam auxisset. 
oO Parvo interim initio, unde nihil timebatur, orta seditio prope 
urbi excidio fuit. Septumam decumam cohortem e colonia 
Ostiensi in urbem acciri Otho jusserat; armandae ejus cura 
Vario Crispino, tribuno e praetorianis, data. Is quo magis 2 
vacuus quietis castris jussa exsequeretur, vehicula cohortis 
incipiente nocte onerari, aperto armamentario, jubet. Tempus 3 
in suspicionem, causa in crimen, affectatio quietis in tumultum 
evaluit ; et visa inter temulentos arma cupidinem sui movere. 
Fremit miles, et tribunos centurionesque proditionis arguit, 4 
tanquam familiae senatorum ad perniciem Othonis armarentur, 
pars ignari et vino graves, pessimus quisque in occasionem 

8 Fulvius . . . legionum] There 
were three legions in Moesia (ii. 
85. 1), but only one (the Third) had 
been engaged. Otho, however, 
paid court to the whole army, not 
without effect, I.e. 

Tettius] Such seems on the 
whole most likely to have been his 
name. M. has here et Titius, in ii. 
85. 3 Tettium, in iv. 39. 1 Tito, 
and in iv. 40. 4 Tettio again. 

et ipse . . . et suis] As if he 
had had the merit both of planning 
the campaign (which was accidental) 
and of choosing the officers to con- 
duct it (Who dated from Nero's 
days, or at least Galba's). We 
should not have had suis so strongly 
emphasized if it meant, ' it was an 
omen that he would succeed against 
Vitellius, as his lieutenants had 
against the foreign enemy. ' 

Ch. LXXX. 1 cohortem e 
colonia Ostiensi] Since Claudius' 
days a cohort had been stationed 
there to act as firemen. 

tritmno e praetorianis] Does this 
mean that they were turned over to 
a Praetorian tribune, instead of one 
of their own, or that a man from 
the Praetorian ranks had been pro- 
moted to a command in this cohort ? 

3 causa] The motive for choosing 
the time, viz. the desire to have the 
men out of the way. 

visa . . . arma . . . sui mo- 
vere] One would of course trans- 
late ' the sight of 'arms aroused . . .' 
yet the expression approaches so 
near to a personification as to make 
it likely that Tacitus was thinking 
of Od. xvi. 294, afirbs yhp £<p€\K€Tai 
avdpa <rl5r)pos. 

4 in occasionem] He meant to 
have put intentus, but thought he 
could keep the word to go with the 
next clause as well as this : when 
he got there, he thought a different 
adj. (viz. cupidum) would suit it 
better. There is thus something 
more than a zeugma ; in occasionem 
cupidum would not only be an im- 


praedarum, volgus, ut mos est, cujuscunque motus novi cupi- 
dum : et obsequia meliorum nox abstulerat. Resistentem 5 
seditioni tribunum et severissimos centurionum obtruncant : 
rapta arma, nudati gladii : insidentes equis urbem ac Palatium 

81 petunt. Erat Othoni celebre convivium primoribus feminis 
virisque ; qui trepidi, fortuitusne militum furor an dolus impera- 
toris, manere ac deprehendi an fugere et dispergi periculosius 
foret, modo constantiam simulare, modo formidine detegi, 
simul Othonis voltum intueri. Utque evenit, inclinatis ad 2 
suspicion em mentibus, cum timeret Otho, timebatur. Sed 3 
haud secus discrimine senatus quam suo territus, et praefectos 
praetorii ad mitigandas militum iras statim mis erat, et abire 
propere omnes e convivio jussit. Turn vero passim magis- 4 
tratus, projectis insignibus, vitata comitum et servorum fre- 
quentia, senes feminaeque per tenebras diversa urbis itinera, 
rari domos, plurimi amicorum tecta et ut cuique humillimus 

82 cliens, incertas latebras petivere. Militum impetus ne foribus 
quidem Palatii coercitus, quo minus convivium inrumperent, 
ostendi sibi Othonem expostulantes, volnerato Julio Martiale 

possible construction, but would not 4 magistratus . . . senes femi- 

suggest the exact sense. naeque] Tacitus was not obliged 

5 centurionum] Only two, says to make up his mind whether this 

Plutarch. was an apposition or an asyndeton ; 

equis] Those of the ve/iicula were the senes would, many of them, be 

just handy, as the arms were. magistratus, and have insignia to 

Ch. LXXXI. i celebre . . . vi- throw off; at any rate they, and 

risque] Eighty senators, says Plu- even the feniinae, would have trains 

tarch. Tacitus clearly means to of servants to avoid ; but there 

describe a decorous state banquet ; were two shocking things, that 

but it was perhaps a symptom of a both the official respect due to 

luxurious head of the state to keep rank, and the natural respect due 

such late hours as must have been to age or sex, were forgotten or 

kept to give the soldiers time to turned to shame, 

arrive from Ostia. ut . . . cliens] Parallel to ami- 

2 Utque . . . mentibus] ' And corum, in fact equivalent to chenhtm 
as happens when men's minds are ut cuique quisque humillimus erat, 
. . . ; ' evenit is present. 4 the humblest of their clients that 

3 baud secus . . . territus] each of them could think of.' 
Tacitus would intimate that he incertas 1 'Obscure,' not 'unsafe.' 
was as innocent of the suspected Ch. LXXXII. i Julio Martiale 
treachery in desire as in act. We heard of him in 28. 1. 


tribuno et Vitellio Saturnino, praefecto legionis, dum ruentibtis 
obsistunt. Undique arma et minae, modo in xenturiones 2 
tribunosque, modo in senatum universum, lymphatis caeco 
pavore animis, et quia neminem unum destinare irae poterant, 
licentiam in omnes poscentibus, donee Otho, contra decus 
imperii, toro insistens, precibus et lacrimis aegre cohibuit, 
redieruntque in castra inviti neque innocentes. Postera die 3 
velut capta urbe clausae domus, rams per vias populus, maesta 
plebs ; dejecti in terram militum voltus, ac plus tristitiae quam 
paenitentiae. Manipulatim adlocuti sunt Licinius Proculus et 4 
Plotius Firmus praefecti, ex suo quisque ingenio mitius aut 
horridius. Finis sermonis .in eo ut quina milia nummum 
singulis militibus numerarentur. Turn Otho ingredi castra 5 
ausus : at que ilium tribuni centurionesque circumsistunt, 
abjectis militiae insignibus otium et salutem flagitantes. Sensit 6 
invidiam miles, et compositus in obsequium auctores seditionis 
83 ad supplicium ultro postulabat. Otho, quamquam turbidis 
rebus et diversis militum animis, cum optimus quisque remedium 

praefecto legionis] We never 4 Finis sermonis in eo ut] The 

hear of officers with this title else- conclusion the speeches worked up 

where in Tacitus, whence some to, what they finally came to, was 

desire to strike out legionis ; but that . . . 

there are no traces of corruption 5 Turn] When the donative had 

in the MS., and inscriptions prove been promised. 

that the office existed in the time militiae insignibus] Cf. militiae 

of the Antonines. In Vegetius's . . . honorem, Juv. vii. %2>, which 

time (under Valentinian), at all indicates what the tribunes' insignia 

events, it was his function to com- were, the clavus and ring, like those 

mand in the absence of the legaltts ; of equites. There seems no evi- 

if this were the case as early as the dence that the centurions had any 

present period, it might account for other insignia than the invidious 

his being so rarely heard of. The one of the vitis. 

legion (assuming that it is really Ch. LXXXIII. i quamquam 

mentioned) will be the Classica. . . . postremo] The connexion of 

2 in senatum] Accounted for thought seems to be, * Otho was in 
by the original rumour, 80. 3 ; a difficult position, but this speech 
universum, by the words that was his way out of it' Tacitus 
follow, lymphatis . . . poterant. states the difficulty of either a 

3 populus . . . plebs] See on strict or a lax course, first from the 
35. 1, 36. 2, and especially point of view of his hearers, then 
40. 1. from his own. * Otho, in spite of 



praesentis licentiae posceret, volgus et plures seditionibus et 
ambitioso imperio laeti, per turbas et raptus facilius ad civile 
bellum inpellerentur ; simul reputans'non posse principatum 
scelere quaesitum subita modestia et prisca gravitate retineri, 
sed discrimine urbis et periculo senatus anxius, postremo ita 
disseruit : — ' Neque ut affectus vestros in amorem mei accen- 2 
derem, commilitones, neque ut animum ad virtutem cohortarer, 
(utraque enim egregie supersunt,) sed veni postulaturus a vobis 
temperamentum vestrae fortitudinis et erga me modum caritatis. 
Tumultus proximi initium non cupiditate vel odio, quae multos 3 
exercitus in discordiam egere, ac ne detrectatione quidem aut 
formidine periculorum : nimia pietas vestra acrius quam con- 

the confusion and the different 
tempers of his soldiers (for the 
best of them asked to have the 
present licence cured, while the 
common crowd mostly enjoyed 
mutiny and "an empire resting on 
popularity," [so C. and B., see on 
t. 3]), at once reflecting . . . and 
on the other hand [sed\, anxious,' 

2 veni] Put out of its natural 
place ; having been omitted with 
the preceding clauses, we should 
have expected it to come after the 
postulaturus, which is co-ordinate 
with them. The effect of the in- 
version is to make veni . . . cari- 
tatis sound more like a sentence by 
itself, so that the completed sen- 
tence may leave less the effect of 
mere flattery than its first clause 

3 initium] Supply ortum est 
from excitavit, says Or. ; rather 
one might say that initium takes 
the same construction with a simple 
ablative that ortum est or a similar 
verb might. 

odio] He means against the 
general or officers, as is proved by 
the balancing nimia pietas ; else he 
might be thinking of jealousies 
between different corps. 

pietas] * Loyalty,' fidelity to the 
personal obligation towards me 
imposed by our mutual relation ; 
see -on 2. 8. The obligation ex- 
pressed by this word on the part of 
a citizen, as such, to his country 
was felt by Romans of every age ; 
e.g. the burden of Cicero's Philip- 
pics is the denunciation of the 
impius civis, where ' the unnatural 
son' expresses the thought almost 
as nearly as 'the disloyal citizen :' 
the soldier's relation to the com- 
mander rested on, and was limited 
by, the definite obligations of 
the sacramentum. Of course the 
nature and history of the civil wars, 
from Marius to Augustus, tended 
to reverse the respective importance 
of the two ; but it does not appear 
that any one felt (at least before 
the orientalized monarchy of Dio- 
cletian) that the citizen, as such, 
owed, as a natural duty, any alle- 
giance to the person of the sovereign, 
such as he owed to the abstract 
name of Rome. The soldiers had 
such an allegiance, which made it 
inevitable, though Tacitus and the 
best men (probably) of all ranks 
and parties thought it wrong, that 
an emperor should rest on an army 
who were 'loyal' to him. rather 


si derate excitavit. Nam saepe honestas rerum causas, ni 4 
judicium adhibeas, perniciosi exitus consequuntur. Imus ad 5 
bellum. Num omnes nuntios palam audiri, omnia consilia 
cunctis praesentibus tractari ratio rerum aut occasionum velo- 
citas patitur ? tarn nescire quaedam milites quam scire oportet. 
Ita se ducum auctoritas, sic rigor disciplinae habet, ut multa 
etiam centuriones tribunosque tantum juberi expediat. . Si, 
ubi jubeantur, quaerere singulis liceat, pereunte obsequio etiam 
imperium intercidit. An et illic nocte intempesta rapientur 
arma ? unus alterve perditus ac temulentus (neque enim plures 
consternatione proxima insanisse crediderim,) centurionis ac 
tribuni sanguine manus imbuet, imperatoris sui tentorium 
84inrumpet? Vos quidem istud pro me: sed in discursu ac 
tenebris et rerum omnium confusione patefieri occasio ^etiam 
adversus me potest. ' Si Vitellio et satellitibus ejus eligendi 2 
facultas detur quern nobis animum, quas mentes inprecentur, 
quid aliud quam seditionem et discordiam optabunt ? ne miles 

than on the people who obeyed given, are individuals to be allowed 

him while de facto ruler, Or the to ask questions ?' making pereunte 

Senate, who claimed the right to ... intercidit {' obedience is the 

appoint him and obey him during bond of rule') a separate sentence, 

good behaviour. 8 illic] sc. in bello, § 5 init. ; 

acrius quam considerate] So so Otho asks, ' Will you burst into 

edd. since Walther. M. has con- my tent as you did into my dining- 

siderat; e was easily omitted before room?' It would be too gross an 

excitavit, and Tacitus has the same irony to make him call his dining- 

construction (instead of the usual room a tent, 

double comparative) in Agr. 4. 5. Ch. LXXXIV. 2 nobis] ' Ora- 

6 tantum juberi] * Simply re- torio artificio utitur princeps.' s 
ceive orders,' not hear reasons. At Oberl. ap. Or. 

the same time jubeo does not ne- quern . . . inprecentur] De- 

cessarily imply orders imposed de pendent on eligendi, not a separate 

haut en bus ; like /ceXetfw, it is ' to question co-ordinate with quid . . 

tell' any one to do anything, in optabunt. 

whatever tone. ne . . . ruamus] Epexegetical of 

7 Si, ubi jubeantur] This must seditionem et discordiam, though 
mean, * If, whenever orders are there may be some question as to 
given, individuals may ask ques- the exact construction. Either, 
tions,' (C. and B). M. has sic ubi ' What will they desire for us but 
(apparently as two words) ; reading mutiny and discord, preventing 
sicubi, we could only translate, ' On the soldiers from obeying the cen- 
any occasion where orders are turion ' etc. ? or, better, ' What will 


centurioni, ne centurio tribuno obsequatur, Iiinc confusi pedites 
equitesque in exitium ruamus. Parendo potius, commilitones, 3 
quam imperia ducum sciscitando res militares continentur ; et 
fortissimus in ipso discrimine exercitus est, qui ante discrimen 
quietissimus. Vobis arma et animus sit : mihi consilium et 4 
virtutis vestrae regimen relinquite. Paucorum culpa fuit, 
duorum poena erit. Ceteri abolete memoriam foedissimae 5 
noctis : nee illas adversus senatum voces ullus usquam exercitus 
audiat. Caput imperii et decora omnium provinciarum ad 6 
poenam vocare non hercule illi, quos cum maxime Vitellius in 
nos ciet, Germani audeant. Ulline Italiae alumni, et Romana 7 
vere juventus, ad sanguinem et caedem depoposcerint ordinem, 
cujus splendore et gloria sordes et obscuritatem Vitellianarum 
partium praestringimus ? Nationes aliquas occupavit Vitellius, 8 
imaginem quandam exercitus habet : senatus nobiscum est. 
Sic fit ut hinc res publica, inde hostes rei publicae constiterint. 
Quid ? vos pulcherrimam hanc urbem domibus et tectis et 9 
congestu lapidum stare creditis ? Muta ista et inanima 

they desire, but . . . that the If so, their number must have been 

soldier may not ' etc. ? doubled since Tiberius ; see on ii. 93. 

Line] ' From this cause/ or ' this depoposcerint] Or. quotes for 

beginning.' Of course ut is to be the tense Ann. iv. 3. 3 ; xvi. 16. 2 ; 

supplied with ruamus from the Germ. 2. 1 ; perhaps still more 

preceding ne. similar is the use, as here, in an 

3 res militares] The plural is indignant question, cf. Aen. ii. 581, 
very rare, the singular common in ' occiderit ferro Priamus ? Iroja 
apparently exactly the same sense. arserit igniV etc. 

4 culpa] A very mild word to praestringimus] ' ffebetamus, 
use. obumbramusj Or. It is doubtful 

6 quos . . . Ciet] 59. 2; 61. which is really the metaphor. The 
3. word is used literally by Pliny in 

non . . . audeant] ' Are not both senses — rubbing the edge off a 

likely to venture ' — non auderant weapon, and the gloss off ivory, 
would mark it more distinctly as 8 Nationes] An imitation of 

inconceivable. provinces, as well as of an army. 

7 Italiae . . . juventus] ' 7m 9 Quid ? vos . . . creditis ?] 
urbanae, novem praetoriae cohortes. The sentiment, probably derived 
Efrurie fertne Umbriaque deleciae, by Sophocles (0. T. 56-7) from a 
aut vetere Latio et coloniis antiquitus semi-proverbial yvia/j^r}, was familiar 
Romanisf Ann. iv. 5. 4, Were at Rome, Liv. v. 44 ; Dio ascribes 
then this 17th cohort Praetorians? it also to Augustus. 


intercidere ac reparari promisca sunt : aeternitas rerum et pax 
gentium et mea cum vestra salus incolumitate senatus firmatur. 
Hunc auspicato a parente et conditore urbis nostrae institutum, t o 
et a regibus usque ad principes continuum et inmortalem, 
sicut a majoribus accepimus, sic posteris tradamus. Nam ut 
ex vobis senatores, ita ex senatoribus principes nascuntur.' 
^5 Et oratio ad perstringendos mulcendosque militum animos, et 
severitatis modus (neque enim in plures quam in duos anim- 
adverti jusserat,) grate accepta, compositique ad praesens qui 
coerceri non poterant Non tarn en quies urbis redierat : 2 
strepitus telorum et facies belli, et militibus ut nihil in commune 
turbantibus, ita sparsis per domos occulto habitu, et maligna 
cura in omnes, quos nobilitas aut opes aut aliqua insignis 
claritudo rumoribus objecerat. Vitellianos quoque milites 3 
venisse in urbem ad studia partium noscenda plerique crede- 
bant. Unde,plena omnia suspicionum, et vix secreta domuum 
sine formidine. Sed plurimum trepidationis in publico, 4 

intercidere . . . promisca as we might say, 'The way that 

sunt] The .verb attracted, by a justice was tempered with mercy;' 

conscious Graecism, into a personal though the meaning is less that 

construction ; the natural expres- they were glad he was strict than 

sion would have been muta ista . . . that he was not too strict. 

intercidere . . . promiscum est. M. 2 et militibus] Balanced by et 

has promisca, without u, and so Or. maligna cura, which is thus seen to 

10 sicut J M. has sic, with the be an abl. Some have wished to 

next word manifestly corrupt. make the sentence a little easier 

Tacitus' language is too developed and a great deal tamer, by reading 

for it to be likely that he puts a erat for the former et. 

double sic, as Homer would a double occulto habitu] Hardly as much 

(bs, to indicate that two processes as 'in disguise,' but 'concealing 

were identical, leaving it for later their character,' as we should say, 

grammarians to discover that one out of uniform. Lipsius quotes 

is a relative, the other a demon- from Epictetus evidence that it was 

strative adverb. not unusual for soldiers to act as 

ex senatoribus principes] Such spies in plain clothes, but it must 

' was necessarily the theory, and now have been done spontaneously, 

such had hitherto been the practice ; maligna] Almost 'jealous ;' they 

see 29. 1 for Otho's own quali- watched them because they grudged 

ncation. them their distinction. 

Ch. LXXXV. 1 severitatis mo- 3 credebant] Perhaps rightly, 

dus] Both words of commendation, 75. 1, 2. 


ut quemque nuntium fama adtulisset, animum voltumque con- 
versis, ne diffidere dubiis ac parum gaudere prosperis viderentur. 
Coacto vero in curiam senatu arduus rerum omnium modus, 5 
ne contumax silentium, ne suspecta libertas. Et privato 
Othoni nuper atque eadem dicenti nota adulatio. Igitur 6 
versare sententias et hue atque illuc torquere, hostem et parri- 
cidam Vitellium vocantes, providentissimus quisque volgaribus 
conviciis ; quidam vera probra jacere, in clamore tamen, et 
ubi plurimae voces, aut tumultu verborum sibi ipsi obstrepentes. 
86 Prodigia insuper terrebant diversis auctoribus volgata : in 
vestibulo Capitolii omissas habenas bigae cui Victoria institerat; 
erupisse cella Junonis majorem humana speciem ; statuam 
divi Julii in insula Tiberini amnis sereno et immoto die ab 
Occidente in Orientem conversam ; prolocutum in Etruria 
bovem, insolitos animalium partus, et plura alia, rudibus 
saeculis etiam in pace observata, quae nunc tan turn in metu 
audiuntur. Sed praecipuus et cum praesenti exitio etiam 2 
futuri pavor, subita inundation e Tiberis : qui inmenso auctu, 
proruto ponte sublicio, ac strage obstantis molis refusus, non 
modo jacentia et plana urbis loca, sed secura ejusmodi casuum 

4 ut quemque . . . conversis] immoto die] With neither storm 
' As men had to change their tern- nor earthquake to account for it ; 
per and looks according to every so the parallel passage of Plutarch, 
rumour reported to them ; ' the firjre aeia/uov yeyovdros fxifp-e irveiu- 
dative conversis depending on the fiaros. 

clause plurimum . . . in publico, in Orientem] Tfye omen being 

not on adtulisset. not so much adverse to Otho as 

dubiis] Probably abl. as prosperis favourable to Vespasian, cf. v. 13. 

must be one, cf. ii. 23. 2. _ 2, 3. 

5 modus] The right point, cf. 2 praecipuus et . . . futuri 
on § 1, the Aristotelian /ii<rov, pavor] The construction is in prin- 

nuper . . . dicenti] * To Otho, ciple the same as that noted in 8. 

who had lately been a private man, 2 ; ' their chief fear, and a fear for 

and in the habit of saying the the future, besides the present 

same.' The pres. part, is always damage.' Whether the fear was of 

of a thing actually continuing, but a repetition of the inundation, or 

not always from the point of view because the inundation was a bad 

of present time. omen, is doubted ; perhaps § 4 is a 

Ch. LXXXVI. 1 sereno et detailed explanation of the latter. 


implevit. Rapti e publico plerique, plures in tabernis et 3 
cubilibus intercepti. Fames in volgus, inopia quaestus et 
penuria alimentorum. Corrupta stagnantibus aquis insularum 
fundamenta, dein, remeante flumine, dilapsa. Utque primum 4 
vacuus a periculo animus fuit, id ipsum, quod paranti expedi- 
tionem Othoni, campus Martius et via Flaminia, iter belli, 
esset obstructum a fortuitis vel naturalibus causis, in prodigium 
et omen imminentium cladium vertebatur. 
o 7 OthOjlustrata urbe, et expensis belli consiliis, quando Poeninae 
Cottiaeque Alpes et ceteri Galliarum aditus Vitellianis exer- 
citibus claudebantur, Narbonensem Galliam adgredi statuit ; 
classe valida et partibus fida, quod reliquos caesorum ad 
pontem Mulvium, et saevitia Galbae in custodiam habitos, in 
numeros legionis composuerat, facta et ceteris spe honora- 
tioris in posterum militiae. Addidit classi urbanas cohortes * 
et plerosque e Praetorianis, vires et robur exercitus, atque ipsis 
Ducibus consilium et custodes. Summa expeditionis iVntonio 
Novello, Suedio Clementi, primipilaribus, Aemilio Pacensi, 
cui ademptum a Galba tribunatum reddiderat, permissa. 

3] A leaf of M., reaching to ii. for 'in numerum legionis J so as to 

2. 3, is lost. count for a legion ? Or. takes it 

4 campus Martius was of course the first way, while seeming, not 

covered by the inundation ; the via very consistently, to adopt Diibner s 

Flaminia, says Suetonius, was explanation, * upon the lines of a 

blocked, twenty miles off, by the legion,' i.e, so that if they were 

fall of some houses. Naturalibus promoted to land service, the cadre 

probably refers to the former, for- was ready stretched. Forthe words 

tuitis to the latter. honoratioris militiae, cf. Livy xxxii. 

Ch. LXXXVII. 1 lustrata urbe] 23 ; here the comp. is a correction 

*• Ob prodigia infausta, cf. Ann. for honor atae. 

xiii. 24. 2,' Or. 2 atque custodes] It is a question 

classe] ii. 14 sqq. whether we should put a comma 

caesorum, etc.] 6. 3, 31. 4. before these words, 'With the fleet 

in custodiam ha"bitos] The same he joined the main strength of his 

pregnant construction is used by army, to the commanders he gave 

Livy, xxii. 25. assessors with instructions to watch 

in numeros j Has this anything as well as to advise,' or take the 

to do with the technical sense of Praetorians themselves to be const - 

numeri, 'detachments ' (6. 5, etc.), Hum et custodes ; probably the latter. 

or is it merely a Tacitean variation Aemilio . . . reddiderat] Above, 


Curam navium Oscus libertus retinebat, ad observandam hones- 
tiorum fidem comitatus. Peditum equitumque copiis Suetonius 3 
Paulinus, Marius Celsus, Annius Gallus, rectores destinati. 
Sed plurima fides Licinio Proculo, Praetorii Praefecto. Is 4 
urbanae militiae impiger, bellorum insolens, auctoritatem 
Paulini, vigorem Celsi, maturitatem Galli, ut cuique erat, crimi- 
nando, quod facillimum factu est, pravus et callidus, bonds et 
modestos anteibat. 
88 Sepositus per eos dies Cornelius Dolabella in coloniam 
Aquinatem, neque arta custodia, neque obscura : nullum ob 
crimen, sed vetusto nomine et propinquitate Galbae monstratus: 
Multos e Magistratibus, magnam consularium partem, Otho, 2 
non participes aut ministros bello, sed comitum specie, secum 
expedire jubet : in quis et L. Vitellium, eodem quo caeteros 
cultu, nee ut Imperatoris fratrem, nee ut hostis. Igitur mota 3 
urbis cura : nullus ordo metu aut periculo vacuus. Primores 
Senatus aetate invalidi et longa pace desides : segnis et oblita 
bellorum nobilitas ; ignarus militiae Eques : quanto magis 

20. 5. We hear of his death, iii. female line ; he had been talked of 

73. 3. for the adoption, perhaps as Icelus' 

comitatus] The neatest (not the candidate, if we compare 13. 4 with 

easiest) conjecture proposed for 14. 1. 
immutatus or other corrupt forms. 2 comitum] In the half-technical 

4 auctoritatem] He had got a sense of the term * suite. ' 

well-deserved reputation {Agr. 5. expedire] i.g. facere exp. 

1), and was living on it; Tacitus nem, so ii. 99. 1, if not 10. 3. 

evidently thought him rather a prig, 3 mota urbis cura] ' The city's 

ii. 26. 2, 31. 4. anxiety was aroused J certainly not 

maturitatem] Paulinus was past 'was removed,' nor is it much 

his best time, Celsus perhaps hardly better to take it as an ablative, and 

come to his. translate, * he set aside all care for 

ut cuique erat criminaudo] He the city.' But considering what we 

put in an invidious light the special heard of the urbis cura in c. 85, 

qualifications of each. one wishes it were possible to trans- 

Ch. LXXXVIII. 1 neque ob- late ' the city's anxiety was changed, 

scura] Or. understands * not out of transferred? which it scarcely is. - 

sight ; ' rather ' in confinement, not One cannot see why Or. pronounces 

rigorous but unmistakeable.' Dola- the MS. reading motae . . . curae 

bella returned to Rome on Otho's ' languidum. ' 

death, and was executed, ii. 63. 4. Primores . . . nobilitas] The 

propinquitate] Probably in a two clauses describe the same 


occultare et abdere pavorem nitebantur, manifestius pavidi. 
Nee deerant e contrario, qui ambitione stolida conspicua arma, 4 
insignes equos, quidam luxuriosos apparatus conviviorum et 
irritamenta libidinum, ut instrumenta belli, mercarentur. Sapi- 5 
entibus quietis et rei publicae cura : levissimus quisque et 
futuri improvidus, spe vana tumens : multi afflicta fide in pace, 
ac turbatis rebus alacres, et per incerta tutissimi. 
89 Sed volgus, et magnitudine nimia commuriium curarum 
expers populus, sentire paulatim belli mala, conversa in militum 
usum omni pecunia, intentis alimentorum pretiis : quae motu 
Vindicis haud perinde plebem attriverant, secura turn urbe et 
provinciali bello, quod inter legiones Galliasque velut externum 
fuit. Nam ex quo divus Augustus res Caesarum composuit, 2 
procul, et in unius solicitudinem aut decus, populus Romanus 
bellaverat. Sub Tiberio et Gaio tantum pacis adversa rei 
publicae pertimuere. Scriboniani contra Claudium incepta 
simul audita et coercita. Nero nnntiis magis et rumoribus 3 

phenomenon in individuals and in Morality. Communes curae differ 

the mass ; only the nobilitas in- from publicae as being rather op- 

cludes the younger members of posed to class interests than to 

senatorial families, not yet distin- individual. 

guished, and who, instead of being conversa . . . pecunia] Specie 

past service, had never seen it. was scarce, because the soldiers 

Then he adds, that the equites, in were paid in cash and did not spend 

theory a military order, were even it at Rome ; perhaps also contrac- 

less military in fact, for ignarus is a tors, fearing ViteHius' success, 

climax on oblita. hoarded or exported what they 

4 ambitione] Perhaps still the received for stores. 

sense is ' complaisance ' rather than intentis] As we might speak of 

' ostentation ; ' since war was the a strain on the market, 

order of the day at court, they Vindicis] Galba had had no 

would be warlike. fighting at all, § 3. 

stolida] It was stupid for them 2 rei publicae pertimuere] 

not to see the incongruity. There is an alternative reading in 

5 afflicta fide] So adfatam ftdem> (or ad) remp. fiertinuere. 

iii. 15. 2. Scriboniani] Ann. xii. 52. 2. He 

Ch. LXXXIX. 1 magnitudine does not seem to have been any 

nimia] Cf. Freeman's remarks on near relation to Crassus Scriboni- 

the decay of public spirit with the in- anus. 

creased size of modern communities, simul . . . coercita] The revolt 

in his essay on Public and Private was crushed within five days. 



quam armis depulsus. Turn legiones classesque et, quod raro 
alias, praetorianus urbanusque miles in aciem deducti : Oriens 
Occidensque et quicquid utrinque virium est, a tergo ; si duci- 
bus aliis bellatum foret, longo bello materia. Fuere qui pro- 4 
ficiscenti Othoni moras religionemque nondum conditorum 
ancilium afiferrent. Aspernatus est omnem cunctationem ut 
Neroni quoque exitiosam : et Caecina jam Alpes transgressus 
90 exstimulabat. Pridie Idus Martias commendata patribus re 
publica reliquias Neronianarum sectionum, nondum in rlseum 
conversas, revocatis ab exsilio concessit, justissimum donum 
et in speciem magnificum, sed, festinata jam pridem exactione, 
usu sterile. Mox vocata contione, majestatem urbis et con- 2 
sensum populi ac senatus pro se attollens, adversum Vitellianas 
partes modeste disseruit, inscitiam potius legionum quam 
audaciam increpans, nulla Vitellii mentione, sive ipsius ea 
moderatio, seu scriptor orationis sibi metuens contumeliis in 

Oriens . . . a tergo] The whole 
West had by this time declared for 
Vitellius, while Mucianus and 
Vespasian adhered to Otho ; thus 
of the two translations offered by 
Or., 'in reserve' seems to express 
Tacitus' sense better than 'in the 
background. ' 

ducibus . . . aliis] It was in 
fact Otho's personal character that 
ended the war; and Tacitus pro- 
bably thinks that that of Vitellius 
would have, as it failed to command 
the loyalty of his subordinates. 
But perhaps he means no more than 
that of men so unwarlike as both 
were, one or other was sure soon to 
commit a fatal blunder. 

4 nondum conditorum ancilium] 
They were solemnly taken (mota) 
from the temple of Mars on the 
1st of March, and replaced {con- 
ditd) after thirty days ; and it was 
unlucky for an army to march in 
the interval. 

Ch. XC. 1 commendata patribus 
re publica] The Senate was still to 

meet and administer the govern- 
ment, though not only its official 
chief, but its principal member? 
were absent. The commendation 
was merely formal, the real powers 
were trusted to Titianus. 

reliquias . . . sectionum] Pro- 
bably the auctions are those 
described in 20. 4. The words 
would be more naturally under- 
stood (with Ritter) of confiscations 
by Nero, not confiscation of gifts of 
Nero ; but it is scarcely credible 
that Nero would not have got the 
fruit of his confiscations at once, or 
that Galba should not? have re- 
scinded any not executed. The 
purport of this chapter, combined 
with c. 20, will be, — Galba made 
Nero's favourites disgorge for the 
public benefit, and ruined them, 
though the public benefited little; 
Otho gave up that little benefit 
(except so far as Galba had realized 
it) in favour of Nero's victims. 

sterile] Some retain the ms. read- 
ing stertii, but cf. non celebre in § 3. 



Vitellium abstinuit, quando, ut in consiliis militiae Suetonio . 
Paulino et Mario Celso, ita in rebus urbanis Galerii Trachali 
ingenio Othonem uti credebatur. Et erant qui genus ipsum 3 
orandi noscerent, crebro fori usu celebre et ad implendas 
populi aures latum et sonans. Clamor vocesque volgi, ex 
more adulandi, nimiae et falsae. Quasi dictatorem Caesarem 4 
aut imperatorem Augustum prosequerentur, ita studiis votisque 
certabant ; nee metu aut am ore, sed ex libidine servitii, ut in 
familiis, privata cuique stimulatio et vile jam decus publicum. 
Profectus Otho quietem urbis curasque imperii Salvio Titiano 5 
fratri permisit. 

2 ut . . . ita] The point of 
the comparison is probably a half- 
sarcastic apology ; no one blames 
an emperor for employing better 
soldiers than himself to command 
his armies, so why should we blame 
him for getting a better orator to 
compose his speeches? For the 
Graecism of Othonem uti instead of 
Oiho . . . credebatur ; cf. on 50. 1. 

3 latum] Either 'copious, fluent/ 
as a characteristic of his style, or 
c far-reaching ' of his voice ; on the 
latter view, it would give, not the 
point in which Otho's speeches 
resembled his, but the cause that 
made his widely known, so as 
readily to be compared with Otho's. 
Either way Tacitus does not mean 
the word for very high praise, but 
agrees with Quintilian, who ascribes 
to him a high degree of external merit. 

4 dictatorem . . . imperatorem] 

He gives to each his highest military 

ut in familiis] Having the ap- 
petites characteristic of the servile 
state, they behaved just as domestic 
slaves do, i.e. aped, and thereby 
encouraged their masters from 
vanity and self-interest, where under 
no actual constraint. The compari- 
son suggests that Roman slavery in 
this age was less rigorous than is 
generally supposed. 

stimulatio] The word is silver- 
age ; it does not seem to give a 
materially different sense from what 
stimulus would. Of course in Eng- 
lish we should use a verbal subst. , 
' excitement,' or the like ; but in 
Latin abstract and concrete verbals 
are kept more distinct. 

5 Profectus] On the 24th of 
March, a wild and mournful festival 
of Cybele. 




I Strue_bat jam fortuna in diversa parte terrarum initia 
causasque imperio, quod varia sorte laetum rei publicae aut 
atrox, ipsis principibus prosperum aut exitio fuit. Titus Ves- i 
pasianus e Judaea, incolumT adhuc Galba, missus a patre 

Ch. I. i in diversa parte] 

Judaea is conceived as the extreme 
south-eastern border of the empire, 
as Germany is the north-western. 

initia causasque] The rise, or 
at all events the occasion of the rise. 
All that happened from the death 
of Galba, or even of Nero, contri- 
buted to cause the elevation of Ves- 
pasian, though his elevation did not 
begin till after the death of Otho. 

quod . . . exitio fuit] The im- 
perium is that, not only of Ves- 
pasian himself, but of the whole 
Flavian dynasty. It began with a 
bloody civil war, the sack of Cre- 
mona, the burning of the Capitol, 
and the formidable revolt of Civilis ; 
then the reigns of Vespasian (when 
once established) and of Titus were 
orderly and tranquil; then suc- 
ceeded the tyranny of Domitian, 
with disasters in Dacia ; and Domi- 

tian was finally assassinated, con- 
trasting both with the peaceable age 
of his father, and the premature but 
honourable death of his brother. 

2 varia sorte] A conjecture (the 
mss. being corrupt) justified by its 
own fitness, as well as by the par- 
allels ii. 95. 6, iii. 80. 3. 

2 incoluini adhuc Galba] Before 
the fall of Galba, not only before 
receiving news of it. 

missus a patre causam . . . fere- 
bat] Vespasian is said to have 
suspected Galba of jealousy (accord- 
ing to Suetonius, even of a design 
for his assassination) ; hence he was 
anxious to conciliate him, beyond 
what was required of an ordinary 
provincial governor. But such sus- 
picions could not be avowed ; it was 
therefore safer to represent the 
country as his son's rather than his 
own, especially as the son had 

9 5 


causam profectionis officium erga principem et maturam 
petendis honoribus juventam ferebat. Sed volgus fingendi 3 
avidum disperserat accitum in adoptionem. Materia sermoni- 
bus senium et orbitas principis et intemperantia civitatis, donee 
unus eligatur, multos destinandi. Augebat famara ipsius Titi 4 
ingenium quantaecunque fortunae capax, decor oris cum 
quadam maj estate, prosperae Vespasiani res, praesaga responsa, 
et, inclinatis ad credendum animis, loco ominum etiam fortuita. 
Ubi Corinthi Achaiae urbe certos nuntios accepit de interitu 5 
Galbae, et aderant qui anna Vitellii bellumque affirmarent, 
anxius animo, paucis amicorum adhibitis, cuncta utrinque 
perlustrat. Si pergeret in urbem, nullam officii gratiam in 6 
alterius honorem suscepti ; ac se Vitellio sive Othoni obsidem 
fore. Sin rediret, orTensam hand dubiam victoris, sed, incerta 7 
adhuc victoria et concedente in partes patre, filium excusatum , 

another good excuse for visiting 
Rome. At the same time, ferebat 
may be meant to contrast his alleged 
motive, not with a real one, but 
with the imagined one. 

maturam . . . juventam] He 
was now just twenty- eight. 

3 disperserat] Apparently the 
only place where this word is thus 
used without rumorem or some 
similar word to define its meaning. 
In fact it appears to be oftener used 
in this sense by Tacitus than by any 
other writer, see, e.g. 96. 3. 

intemperantia . . . destinandi] 
The genitive is the same in principle 
as in phrases like intemperantia vini, 
so inpotens is often used {e.g. iv. 
44. 3) with perhaps a conscious 
imitation of the construction of 
aKpar^s. But this use of the gerund 
seems to be unique, though it is 
needless to conjecture destinantis. 

4 decor oris] Compare i. 7. 5 
for the weight of this consideration 
with the masses. 

prosperae Vespasiani res] Not 
merely that the son of a distin- 

guished man was brought before 
the public's eye and the emperor's, 
but that the son of a lucky man 
was likely to be lucky. 

5 cuncta utrinque may be 'alt 
considerations on both sides,' i.e. in 
favour of going on or turning back, 
or 'all events from both quarters,' 
i.e. his possible treatment either by 
Vitellius or Otho. 

6—8 Si ... Sin ... Sin] The 
form of the sentence supports the 
first translation suggested for utrim- 
que. At the same time, the last sin 
prevents its being so symmetrical as 
to be decisive. Its force is : — There 
were objections to either course — 
stronger to one than to the other — 
but a third alternative was con- 
ceivable, that would supersede all 

7 incerta . . . excusatum] The 
ultimate victor could not blame 
Titus very much for not having 
taken his side before the victory, 
and if Vespasian did take his side 
before the victory, he could not 
aiford to blame Titus at all. 



Sin Vespasianus rem publicam susciperet, obliviscendum offen- 8 

2 sarum de bello agitantibus. His ac talibus inter spem metum^ 
que jactatum spes vicit. Fuere qui accensum desiderio 
Berenices reginaevertisse iter crederent. Neque abhorrebat 2 
a Berenice juvenilis animus : sed gerendis rebus nullum ex eo 
impedimentum. Laetam voluptatibus adolescentiam egit, suo 
quam patris imperio modestior. Igitur oram Achaiae et 3 
Asiae ac laeva maris praevectus, Rhodum et Cyprum insulas, 
inde Syriam audentioribus spatiis petebat. Atque ilium 4 
cupido incessit adeundi visendique templum Paphiae Veneris, 
inclitum per indigenas advenasque. Haud fuerit longum 
initia religionis, templi ritum, formam deae (neque enim alibi 

3 sic habetur,) paucis disserere. Conditorem templi regem 
Aerian vetus memoria, quidam ipsius deae nomen id perhibent. 

8 rem publicam susciperet] 

' Should take on him the charge of 
the State/ The phrase would per- 
haps cover the case of impartial and 
patriotic intervention between rival 
claimants, as well as the assertion 
of his own claim from patriotic 
motives. De bello agitantibus 
would suit either case. If Ves- 
pasian had interfered on behalf, e.g. 
of Otho, Vitellius would still (as in 
the actual case) have had a quarrel 
with him superseding the mere 
grievance against Titus. 

Ch. II. 1 jactatum spes vicit] 
After long agitation between hope 
and fear, hope decided his action : 
hope that his father would make his 
return safe, as except through his 
father's success it would be safe 
neither to return nor to go on. 

reginae] She had been wife of 
her uncle Herodes, king of Chalcis, 
and, on his death, of Polemo, king of 
Pontus (hi. 47. 1), but had long left 
the latter, and lived with her brother 
Agrippa. Tacitus therefore probably 
uses the word in the sense of a 
king's daughter and sister rather 

than a king's wife ; as we should say, 
rather ' princess ' than * queen. ' 

sed . . . impedimentum] After 
his accession, he was thought to 
mean to marry her : but parted from 
her on discovering how unpopular 
the proposal was. 

3 audentioribus spatiis] 'By 
bolder stages,' no longer coasting, 
but striking across the open sea, so 
that there was no loitering, and no 
disguising his destination. Or. 
remarks that the phrase is almost 

4 Atque] When in Cyprus, the 
last-mentioned station. 

neque enim . . . habetur] It 
was probably of Asiatic origin— 
either Phoenician or pre-historical. 

Ch. III. 1 Aerian] So Ann. 
iii. 62. 5. The second statement is 
the more likely — that the goddess 
of Paphos was Aeria. (or some name 
so Grecized), and that her identi- 
fication with Aphrodite was an after- 
thought. When identified, people 
asked the origin of her local title 
Aeria, and an Aerias was imagined 
as a local eponymn. 




Fama recentior tradit a Cinyra sacratum templum, deamque 
ipsam conceptam mari hue pulsam. Sed scientiam artemque z 
haruspicum accitam, et Cilicem Tamiram intulisse , atque ita 
pactum ut familiae utriusque posteri caerimoniis praesiderent. 
Mox, ne honore nullo regium genus peregrinam stirpem ante- 3 
celleret, ipsa quam intulerant scientia hospites cessere : tantum 
Cinyrades sacerdos consulitur. Hostiae, ut quisque vovit, 4 
sed mares deliguntur : certissima fides haedorum fibris. San- 
guinem arae obfundere vetitum : precibus et igne puro altaria 
adolentur, nee ullis imbribus, quamquam in aperto, madescunt. 
Simulacrum deae non effigie humana, continuus orbis latiore 5 
initio tenuem in ambitum metae modo exsurgens ; et ratio in 
4 obscuro. Titus, spectata opulentia donisque regum, 'quaeque 

Cinyra] . He at any rate is a 
character of native or early natural- 
ized Greek legend, always connected 
with Cyprus, 11. xi. 10, Pind. Pyth. 
ii. But the name seems to be 
Phoenician, cf. Melicertes. 

2 haruspicum] Cicero (de Div. 
I. 2.) describes augury as the form 
of divination most valued in Cilicia ; 
and of course he had means of 
knowing. The Cilician origin of 
one of the priestly houses may 
therefore be a mere guess. 

3 stirpem antecelleret] The 
construction with the dative is more 
usual with this and equivalent verbs, 
but the accusative is found occasion- 
ally in the silver age : e.g. in Tacitus 
himself, Ann. xiv. 55. 7- 

4 ut . . . sed] They may be of 
any species or value, subject to the 
restriction of sex. 

precibus . . . adolentur] The 
igne puro means simply 'bloodless.' 
Probably incense would be used, 
but it might mean only that a fire 
was kept burning. In Ann. xiv. 
30. 4 we have cruore captivo adolere 
aras, which, coupled with this pas- 
sage, supports the view that adoleo 
originally means not ' to cause to 
smell,' but 'to honour,' literally 

* increase,' — coming not from the 
verb oleo, but from the root of 

nee . . . madescuntj A belief 
found at several other temples, speci- 
fied by Polybius, xvi. 12. 3. 

5 ratio in obscuro] We hear of 
the worship of BcurtfAia — sacred 
stones — among the Phoenicians ; in 
the O. T. we often have 'pillars' 
enumerated among objects of idola- 
try, and the use of ' great stones' as 
sacred monuments, so frequent down 
to the time of Samuel, would be a 
natural germ of such worship. The 
Caaba is too large for comparison, 
though it illustrates the same fetishist 
spirit. The statue (if it can be called 
so) of the Sun -god at Emesa was of 
the same shape as this ; it was black, 
and said to be duirerh, while the 
material of this was unknown ; both 
may therefore have been aerolites. 
Our own ' Druidical ' monuments 
are chiefly found in districts abound- 
ing in boulders, ' sarsen stones,' and 
' erratic blocks,' that look as if they 
had dropped from the sky rather 
than been produced naturally where 
they are found. But the description 
(and figures on coins) of the Paphian 
idol do not point to its being an un- 


alia laetum antiquitatibus Graecorum genus incertae vetustati 

adfingit, de navigatione primum consuluit. Postquam pandi 2 

viam et mare prosperum accepit, de se per ambages interrogat 

caesis compluribus hostiis. Sostratus (sacerdotis id nomen 3 

erat,) ubi laeta et congruentia exta magnisque consultis adnuere 

deam videt, pauca in praesens et solita respondens, (petito 

secreto futura aperit. Titus aucto animo ad patrem pervectus 4 

suspensis provinciarum et exercituum mentibus ingens rerum 


Profligaverat bellum Judaicum Vespasianus, obpugnatione 5 

Hierosolymorum reliqua, duro magis et arduo opere ob ingen- 

ium montis et pervicaciam superstitionis, quam quo satis 

virium obsessis ad tolerandas necessitates superesset. Tres, 6 

ut supra memoravimus, ipsi Vespasiano legiones erant, exer- 

citae bello : quattuor Mucianus obtinebat in pace ; sed 

aemulatio et proximi exercitus gloria depulerat segnitiam, 

quantumque illis roboris ? discrimina et labor, tantum his vigoris 

addiderat integra quies et inexperti belli t labor (amor?). 

hewn block; it may have been 5 Profligaverat] 'Had broken 

merely an ornamental obelisk, con- the strength of : ' this phrase ex- 

secrated for mere antiquity, or have hibits a transition between the 

been made a symbol of the goddess etymological sense (appearing in 

because it was ornamental — as Ho- profligare hostes) and the derived 

garth tried to connect it with his one of exhausting, almost finishing : 

' Line of Beauty. ' in fact, even with bellum we often 

Ch. IV. 1 quaeque alia . . . have profligare coupled with con- 

adfingit] The offerings ascribed to ficere. 

mythical, as well as historical, ingenium] So v. 14. 3, Ann. vi. 

pilgrims and benefactors. 41. 1 ; Vir. Georg. ii. 177 is similar, 

2 de se] What his final fortunes though there he probably means to 

were to be — opposed to such par- remind the reader of the common 

ticular inquiries as that about the application of the word to human 

voyage. nature. 

4 fiducia] Tn apposition with quo] The magis before and the 
Titus i as fides in the next c. §3. satis after, give to the particle its 
So in 23. 6, iv. 85. 2, we have ordinary syntactical force, ' in pro- 
abstract nouns in apposition with portion as,' as with a compara- 
personal names : but the closest tive. 

parallel quoted to this expression 6 amor] Suggested by Or., pre- 

is a passage of Justin (xi. 9), '■qui vious editors having proposed ardor. 

. . . non mediocre momentum Per- Labor is doubtless a careless repeti- 

sarum viribus accessere. ' tion from the previous line. 


Auxilia utrique cohortium alarumque, et classes regesque, ac ? 

5 nomen dispari fama celebre. Vespasianus acer militiae, 
anteire agmen, locum castris capere, noctu diuque consilio ac, 
si res posceret, manu hostibus obniti, cibo fortuito, veste 
habituque vix a gregario milite discrepans ; prorsus, si avaritia 
abesset, antiquis ducibus par. Mucianum e contrario magnifi- 2 
centia et opes et cuncta privatum modum supergressa extolle- 
bant ; aptior sermone, dispositu provisuque civilium rerum 
peritus : egregium principatus temperamentum, si, demptis 
utriusque vitiis, solae virtutes miscerentur. Ceterum hie 3 
Syriae, ille Judaeae praepositus, vicinis provinciarum adminis- 
trationibus, invidia discordes, exitu demum Neronis positis 
odiis in medium consuluere, primum per amicos : dein prae- 
cipua concordiae fides Titus prava certamina communi utilitate 
aboleyerat, natura atque arte compositus alliciendis etiam 
Muciani moribus. Tribuni centurionesque et volgus militum 4 
industria, licentia, per virtutes, per voluptates, ut cuique 

6 ingenium, adsciscebantur. Antequam Titus adventaret, sacra- 
mentum Othonis acceperat uterque exercitus, praecipitibus, 
ut assolet, nuntiis, et tarda mole civilis belli, quod longa 

7 reges] v. 1. 4. fides Titus] See on 4. 4. 

Ch. V. 1 anteire, etc.] Of etiam M.] Mucianus was not a 

course these are naturally read as churlish man whom it was difficult 

historical infinitives, but probably to find in good temper, but he was 

Tacitus would not have refused to a versatile man whose temper it was 

consider them as partly depending difficult to calculate upon — also a 

on acer. wilful man (i. 10. 3, comitate, adro- 

2 aptior sermone] Or. gives an gantia . . . mixtus) whom it was 
explanation of the difference be- difficult to make friendly of * charity 
tween this and aptior sermoni, which prepense. ' If this seems far-fetched 
would be superfluous but that as an explanation of etiam, one may 
some (late mss. and edd.) wish to either take it 'to conciliate M. as 
read the latter here. well [as his father],' or connect the 

3 in medium consuluere] The word with alliciendis . . . moribus; 
sense is rather 'met each other he was congenial to his character, 
half way ' than ' took counsel for _ besides appealing successfully to his 
the common interest. ' The phrase interest. 

is of course common {e.g. Virg. Ch. VI. I tarda mole] The 

Aen. xi. 335) but not fixed in substantive is used in a sense cor- 

meaning further than the necessary relative to the verb moliri — a civil 

force of the words fixes it. war was a great thing which it was 


concordia quietus Oriens tunc primum parabat. Namque 2 
olim validissima inter se civium arma in Italia Galliave viribus 
Occidentis coepta ; et Pompeio, Cassio, Bruto, Antonio, quos 
omnes trans mare secutum est civile bellum, haud prosperi 
exitus fuerant ; auditique saepius in Syria Judaeaque Caesares 
quam inspecti. Nulla seditio legionum : tantum adversus 3 
Parthos minae, vario eventu. Et proximo civili bello turbatis 
aliis inconcussa ibi pax ; dein fides erga Galbam. Mox, ut 4 
Othonem ac Vitellium scelestis armis res Romanas raptum 
ire volgatum est, ne penes ceteros imperii praemia, penes 
ipsos tantum servitii necessitas esset, fremere miles et vires 
suas circumspicere. Septem legiones statim et cum ingentibus 5 
auxiliis Syria Judaeaque ; inde continua Aegyptus duaeque 
legiones, hinc Cappadocia Pontusque et quicquid castrorum 
Armeniis praetenditur. Asia et ceterae provinciae nee virorum 6 
7 inopes et pecuniae opulentae. Quantum insularum mari 
cingitur, et parando interim bello secundum tutumque ipsum 

slow and laborious to stir, while tantum . . . minae] Contrasted 

when it has arisen, the preceding with the serious operations in 

clause says, the news of it travels Germany and Britain. Yet Cor- 

fast. bulo's campaigns were serious 

longa concordia . . . primum enough, though little came of 

parabat] Gaul under Vindex, Spain them. 

under Galba, the German armies 5 duaeque legiones] So Ann. 

under Vitellius, perhaps even Macer iv. 5. 3 : in Augustus's time, how- 

in Africa (i. 7. 1) had done the ever, and as late as when Strabo 

same : but for an eastern precedent, wrote, there were three, 

one had to go back to Antony, 6 ceterae provinciae] Those of 

before the longa concordia. Then the Danube : nee virorum inopes 

in the next sentence he says, 'If you would scarcely apply to the other 

do go back so far, you find excep- provinces of Asia Minor, 

tions which prove the rule.' Going Quantum . . . cingitur] 'There 

still further back, however, one were all the islands of the Mediter- 

might quote Sulla as starting from ranean,' C. and B. In § 2 we had 

the east to make himself master of mare spoken of as separating the 

Rome. East from Italy — here it is said that 

2 auditique . . . inspecti] the islands which broke the separa- 
Germanicus had died in Syria, and tion belonged virtually to the 
no Caesar had been there since. former. It is perhaps best, cer- 

3 Nulla seditio legionum] As tainly simplest, to take quantum 
there had been in the west on ... cingitur thus, as co-ordinate 
Tiberius's accession. with Syria Judaeaque . . . Aegyptus 


mare. Non fallebat duces impetus militum : sed bellantibus 
aliis placuit exspectari belli exitum. Victores victosque 
nunquam solida fide coalescere. Nee referre, Vitellium an 2 
Othonem superstitem fortuna faceret. Rebus secundis etiam 
egregios duces insolescere : discordiam his, ignaviam, luxuriem ; 
et suismet vitiis alterum bello, alterum victoria periturum. 
Igitur arma in occasionem distulere, Vespasianus Mucianusque 3 
nuper, ceteri olim mixtis consiliis ; optimus quisque amore 
rei publicae : multos dulcedo praedarum stimulabat, alios 
ambiguae domi res. Ita boni malique causis diversis, studio 4 
pari, bellum omnes cupiebant. 
8 Sub idem tempus Achaia atque Asia falso exterritae velut 
Nero adventaret, vario super exitu ejus rum ore, eoque pluribus 
vivere eum fingentibus credentibusque. Ceterorum casus 
conatusque in contextu operis dicemus : tunc servus e Ponto 
sive, ut alii tradidere, libertinus ex Italia, citharae et cantus 
peritus, (unde illi super similitudinem oris propior ad fallendum 
fides,) adjunctis desertoribus quos inopia vagos ingentibus 
promissis corruperat, mare ingreditur; ac, vi tempestatum 
Cythnum insulam detrusus, et militum quosdam ex Oriente 

. . . Asia, etc. ; or one might from placuit for this and the sub- 
translate, * The islands lying in the sequent infinitives to depend on. 
sea at once gave them conveniences 2 Nee referre] As Otho's devoted 
for preparing the war meanwhile,' troops fought zealously for Vespa- 
because it facilitated their communi- sian, Tacitus is careful to warn us 
cation with Italy to have ports to not to suppose that Vespasian had 
touch at half way, * and the sea ever given a loyal adhesion to Otho. 
itself was a source of safety 'because 3 Vesp. . . . consiliis] 'Vespa- 
the powers supreme in Italy had no sian and Mucianus having taken 
fleet, except that operating on the counsel in common lately (since 
Gaulish coast. This explanation Titus reconciled them), and the rest 
supposes et to be unsymmetrically (their respective adherents) having 
placed, but gives the best force to done so long before. ' 
the position of ipsum mare. 4 bellum omnes] Balances rhe- 
Ch. VII. I coalescere] A gene- torically, though not grammatically, 
ral maxim— not that the conquerors causis diversis, studio pari: — -'they 
and conquered in this case never had different motives, equal zeal, 
would, but that conquerors and con- and the same practical end. 
quered never do. It is idle to Ch. VIII. i] See on i. 2. 3. , 
speculate what verb is to be supplied 2 unde . . . fides] ' From 


commeantium adscivit, vel abnuentes interfici jussit, et, 
spoliatis negotiatoribus, mancipiorum valentissimum quemque 
armavit. Centurionemque Sisennam, dextras, coneordiae 3 
insignia, Syriaci exercitus nomine ad praetorianos ferentem, 
variis artibus adgressus est, donee Sisenna, clam relicta insula, 
trepidus et vim metuens aufugeret. Inde late terror, multis 4 
ad celebritatem nominis erectis rerum novarum cupidine et 
9 odio praesentium. Gliscentem in dies famam fors discussit. 
Galatiam ac Pamphyliam ■■ provincias Calpurnio Asprenati 
regendas Galba permiserat. Datae e classe Misenensi duae 
triremes ad prosequendum, cum quibus Cythnum insulam 
tenuit. Nee defuere qui trierarchos nomine Neronis accirent. 2 
Is, in maestitiam compositus et fidem suorum quondam militum 
invocans, ut eum in Syria aut Aegypto sisterent orabat. 
Trierarchi nutantes, seu dolo, adloquendos sibi milites et 3 
paratis omnium animis reversuros firmaverunt. Sed Asprenati 4 
euncta ex fide nuntiata ; cujus conortatione expugnata navis 
et interfectus quisquis ille erat. Corpus, insigne oculis coma- 5 
que et'torvitate vultus, in Asiam atque inde Romam pervectum 
IO In civitate discordi, et ob crebras principum mutationes) 
inter libertatem ac licentiam incerta, parvae quoque res 

which, besides his resemblance in Is] The pretender ; but Tacitus, 

face, it was easier to deceive men to heighten the interest, puts the con- 

into belief of him,' lit. ' belief was structionin such a form that it seems 

nearer at hand for his purpose of as though it were Nero in reality, 

deceit.' * 4 expugnata] Of course the 

commeantium] * Absent on fur- deserters and armed slaves would 

lough,' — a use of the verb correla- fight desperately, 

tive to the frequent one of the quisquis ille erat] Tacitus does 

substantive commeatus. not believe that he was really Nero, 

3 dextras] i. 54, 1. but he seems to play with the 

Ch. IX. 1 ad prosequendum] belief: the next sentence is pro- 

1 For his escort : ' prosequi generally bably meant to imply that the simi- 

has the sense of honorary attendance litudo oris was very striking, 

more or less prominent. 5 in Asiam atque inde Romam] 

2 accirent] What follows implies, That no doubt might be left of the 

that they did wait upon him when death of this Nero at all events, 

summoned. Ch. X. 1 ob crebras ... in- 



magnis motibus agebantur. Vibius Crispus, pecunia, potentia, 2 
ingenio, inter claros magis quam inter bonos, Annium Faustum, 
equestris ordinis, qui temporibus Neronis delation es factita- 
verat, ad cognitionem senatus vocabat. Nam recens, Galbae 3 
principatu, censuerant patres ut accusatorum causae nosceren- 
tur. Id senatus consultum varie jactatum et, prout potens vel 
inops reus inciderat, infirmum aut validum retinebatur. Ad 4 
hoc terroris et propria vi Crispus incubuerat delatorem fratris 
sui pervertere ; traxeratque magnam senatus partem, ut inde- 
fensum et inauditum dedi ad exitium postularent. Contra 5 
apud alios nihil aeque reo proderat quam nimia potentia 
accusatoris : dari tempus, edi crimina, quamvis invisum ac 
nocentem more tamen audiendum, censebant. Et, valuere 

certa] Such changes put despotism 
in abeyance — the sanguine might 
hope liberty was restored, though 
anarchy was practically a likelier 

Crispus] We have a more favour- 
able character of him (applied, how- 
ever, to a time some twenty years 
later) in Juv. Sat. iv. 81 sqq. 

claros] We have the same use 
of the term in a doubtful compli- 
ment in Sail. Jug. 8. I, Liv. viii. 
27. 3, where dari is opposed to 

delationes factitaverat] We 
have similarly accusationem factitare 
in Cic. Brut. 34. 130. Deferre and 
the cognate words did not get their 
technical sense before the empire, 
though their use in certain legal 
phrases {deferre nomen, etc.) furnished 
the germ of it. 

3 accusatorum] Words of this 
form have often the force of ' a man 
in the habit of doing ' the action of 
the verb, and that is clearly the force 
of this word here, and Cic. Brut, I.e. 
So aedificator in Juv. xiv. 86, Nep. 
Ati. II ; so Cic. Tusc. iv. 12. 27, 
distinguishes amator from amans, as 
ebriosus from ebrius, or as anxietas 
from anp-or, and iracundia from ira. 

It would have been absurd to pro- 
secute everybody who had prosecuted 
anybody ; but it was seriously pro- 
posed that actions should lie against 
those who had made themselves a 
character as prosecutors. 

varie jactatum] Experienced 
various changes of fortune. ' Was 
variously carried out,' though ex- 
pressingthe sense, is not atranslation. 

retinebatur] Whether put in 
force or not, it was never abrogated. 

4 Ad hoc terroris] * Besides the 
threat thus held out ' by the Senate, 
Crispus had motives of his own. It 
is curious that we hear of him again 
in iv. 42 sq., as himself reckoned 
among the most odious delatores. 
Here potentia in §§ 2, 5 hints the 
same, while we are told it expressly 
at the end of the chapter. 

fratris sui] Vibius Seeundus, 
Ann. xiv. 28. 3. 

5 aeque . . . quam] The com- 
mentators duly notice that Cic. 
would have written aeque ac. 

more] 'According to rule,' the 
reverse of sine more in Virg. Aen. 
viii. 635. The simple ablative, 
almost equivalent to de more, is found 
also in Cic. Off. i. 41. 148, where 
it is coupled with instituiis civilibus. 


primo, dilataque in paucos dies cognitio. Mox damnatus est 6 
Faustus, nequaquam eo assensu civitatis quern pessimis mori- 
bus meruerat. Quippe ipsum Crispum easdem accusationes 
cum praemio exercuisse meminerant, nee poena criminis sed 
ultor displicebat. 
1 I Laeta interim Othoni principia belli, motis ad imperium 
ejus e Dalmatia Pannoniaque exercitibus. Fuere quattuor 2 
legiones, e quibus bina milia praemissa ; ipsae modicis inter- 
vals sequebantur, septima a Galba conscripta, veteranae 
undecima ac tertia decima et praecipui fama quartadecumani, 
-rebellione Britanniae compressa. Addiderat gloriam Nero 3 
eligendo ut potissimos ; unde longa illis erga Neronem fides 
et erecta in Othonem studia. Sed quo plus virium ac roboris, 
e fiducia tarditas inerat. Agmen legionum alae cohortesque 4 
praeveniebant. Et ex ipsa urbe haud spernenda manus, quin- 
que praetoriae cohortes et equitum vexilla cum legione prima, 
ac deforme insuper auxilium, duo milia gladiatorum, sed per 
civilia arma etiam severis ducibus usurpatum. His copiis 5 
rector additus Annius Gallus, cum Vestricio Spurinna ad 
occupandas Padi ripas praemissus, quoniam prima consiliorum 
frustra ceciderant, transgresso jam Alpes Caecina, quem sisti 
intra Gallias posse speraverat. Ipsum Othonem comitabantur 6 
speculatorum lecta corpora, cum ceteris praetoriis cohortibus, 
veterani e praetorio, classicorum ingens numerus. Nee illi 

6 cum praemio] This, not the duo milia comes again in § 4. 

merits or demerits of the accused, reoellione Britanniae compressa 

was doubtless the test of cases accounts for praecipui fama ; the 

which it was proposed to punish. rebellio is that of Boadicea {Ann. 

Ch. XI. 1 motis ad imperium] xiv. 29 sqq. 

i Being put in motion, at his com- 3 eligendo] To act against the 

mand,' i.e. not in consequence of Albanians; they were then sent 

orders from him, but at his disposal against Vindex, but if this only had 

and in allegiance to him. been meant, it would not justify 

2 "bina milia] It is disputed longa fides. 

whether this means ' 2000 from 4 haud spernenda manus] Per- 

each' or only 2000 in all. In the haps from 12,000 to 15,000 men. 

latter case bina is probably used 6 veterani e praetorio] The 

merely for variety's sake, because vexillarii of 1 8. 1. 


segne aut corruptum luxu iter, sed lorica ferrea usus est, et 
ante signa pedester, horridus, incomptus, famaeque dissimilis. 

I 2 Blandiebatur coeptis fortuna, possessa per mare et naves 
majore Italiae parte penitus usque ad initium maritimarum 
Alpium. Quibus tentandis adgrediendaeque provinciae Nar- 2 
bonensi Suedium Clementem, Antonium Novellum, Aemilium 
Pacensem.iduces dederat. Sed Pacensis per licentiam militum 
vinctus ; Antonio Novello nulla auctoritas : Suedius Clemens 
ambitioso imperio regebat, ut adversus modestiam disciplinae 
corruptus, ita praeliorum avidus. Non Italia adiri nee loca 4 
sedesque patriae videbantur : tamquam externa litora et urbes 
h ostium urere, vastare, rapere, eo atrocius quod nihil usquam 
provisum adversum metus. Pleni agri, apertae domus. Occur- 5 
santes domini juxta conjuges et liberos securitate pacis et 
belli malo circumveniebantur. Maritimas turn Alpes tenebat 
procurator Marius Maturus. Is concita gente (nee deest 
juventus,) arcere provinciae rlnibus Othonianos intendit. Sed 6 
primo impetu caesi disjectique montani, ut quibus temere 
collectis, non castra, non ducem noscitantibus, neque in 

.1 3 victoria decus esset neque in fuga flagitium. Irritatus eo 
praelio Othonis miles vertit iras in municipium Albintimilium. 
Quippe in acie nihil praedae, inopes agrestes et vilia arma ; 
nee capi poterant, pernix genus et gnari locorum. Sed 2 

famaeque dissimilis J Unlike the which prevented his keeping good 

reputation he had already — though discipline. 

perhaps he means also, unlike the 4 patriae] All Italy is here con- 
reports circulated afterwards, which ceived as the patria of all Italians — 
we get in Juv. ii. 99 sqq. not the common Roman view (e.g. 

Ch. XII. 2 Suedium, etc.] We iii. 8. 2, S6. 1, and of Tiberius's 

had their names given before in i. leaving Rome for Campania, Ann. 

87. 2. iv. 58. 3). 

3 ambitioso imperio] So that he, Ch. XIII. 1 Albintimilium] 

unlike the rest, preserved influence, Sometimes written in two words, 

though not of a sort respectable Albitmi Intemeliiim (the inhabi- - 

enough to be called auctoritis. tants of the district are called Inte- 

adversus , . . corruptus] The melii in Agr. 7. 1), now Ventimiglia 

last word in much the same sense as or Vintimille. Agricola's mother 

corruptum luxuria, in the end of was killed in the course of this 

the c. before ; he was a vicious man, inroad (I.e. ) 


calamitatibus insontium expleta avaritia. Auxit invidiam 
praeclaro exemplo femina Ligus, quae, filio abdito, cum 
simul pecuniam occultari milites credidissent, eoque per 
cruciatus interrogarent ubi filium occuleret, uterum ostendens, 
'latere' respondit ; nee ullis deinde terroribus aut morte 
* 4 constantiam vocis egregiae mutavit. Imminere provinciae 
Narbonensi, in verba Vitellii adactae, classem Othonis trepidi 
nuntii Fabio Valenti attulere. Aderant legati coloniarum 2 
auxilium orantes. Duas Tungrorum cohortes, quattuor equitum 
turmas, universam Trevirorum alam cum Julio Classico prae- 
fecto misit ; e quibus pars in colonia Forojuliensi retenta, ne, 
omnibus copiis in terrestre iter versis, vacuo mari classis 
adceleraret. Duodecim equitum turmae et lecti e cohortibus 3 
adversus hostem iere ; quibus adjuncta Ligurum cohors, vetus 
loci auxilium, et quingenti Pannonii, nondum sub signis. 
Nee mora praelio, sed acie ita instructa ut pars classicorum, 4 
mixtis paganis, in colles mari propinquos exsurgeret, quantum 
inter colles ac litus aequi loci, praetorianus miles expleret, in / 
* ipso mari ut adnexa classis et pugnae parata, conversa et 
minaci fronte praetenderetur : Vitelliani^ quibus minor peditum 
vis, in equite robur, Alpinos proximis jugis, ^cohortes den sis 
ordinibus post equitem locant. Trevirorum turmae obtuiere 5 

2 calamitatibus insontium] we find a Pannonian cohort on his 

They did get some plunder by side (17. 2). But these ha„d been 

torturing non-combatants. enlisted and sent, no doubt, to be 

latere] ' That he was hidden enrolled in a cohort attached to 

there,' i.e. concealed by the fact of the German army— they then had 

their relationship. C. and B. per- marched with it, though not enrolled, 

versely assume a double entendre, 4 acie] Plainly Otho's. The 

* that she was pregnant at the abl. abs. has no particular construc- 

time,' and gratuitously, though less tion — 'the battle was not delayed, 

absurdly, wish to make latere mean but (took place) with the line drawn 

' in my side.' up,' etc. 

Ch. XIV. 2. Julio Classico] paganis] ' Intellige de rustids, 

Whom we hear of again, iv. 55 sqq. quos Othoriiani vel coegerant vel 

3 Pannonii] The national forces mercede induxerant ut ipsis auxilia- 

naturally followed the armies quar- rentur. ' — Or. 

tered among them, so as those from conversa] With their bows to 

Pannonia had joined Otho (11. 1) the shore, instead of their sterns, 


se hosti incaute, cum exciperet contra veteranus miles, simul 
a latere saxis urgeret apta ad jaciendum etiam paganorum 
maims, qui sparsi inter milites, strenui ignavique, in victoria 
idem audebant. Additus perculsis terror invecta in terga 6 
pugnantium classe. Ita undique clausi ; deletaeque omnes 
copiae forent, ni victorem exercitum attinuisset obscurum 

1 5 noctis, obtentui fugientibus. Nee Vitelliani, quanquam victi, 
quievere. Accitis auxiliis securum hostem ac successu rerum 
socordius agentem invadunt. Caesi vigiles, perrupta castra, 2 
trepidatum apud naves, donee, sidente paulatim metu, occupato 
juxta colle defensi, mox irrupere. Atrox ibi caedes, et Tun- 3 
grarum cohortium praefecti, sustentata diu acie, telis obruuntur. 
Ne Othonianis quidem incruenta victoria fuit, quorum in- 
provide secutos conversi equites circumvenerunt. Ac velut 4 
pactis indutiis, ne hinc classis inde eques subitam formidinem 
inferrent, Vitelliani retro Antipolim Narbonensis Galliae muni- 

^ cipium, Othoniani Albingaunum interioris Liguriae revertere. 

16 Corsicam ac Sardiniam ceterasque proximi maris insulas 
fama victricis classis in partibus Othonis tenuit. Sed Corsicam 
£>rope adflixit Decumi Pacarii procuratoris temeritas, tanta 
mole belli nihil in summa profutura, ipsi exitiosa. Namque 
Othonis odio juvare Vitellium Corsorum viribus statuit, inani 

the Ordinary attitude for landing story, while the construction runs 

(Virg. j$.en. vi. 3). on as though all the facts, except 

6 obientui fugientibus] We can that comprised in the principal 

easily translate 'serving to cover verbs, were known. The partitive 

their flight,' but it is curious to have gen. before the participle is even so 

the double dative without any verb. curious. 

Ch. XV. 1 successu rerum] 4 interioris Liguriae] The gen. 

* By the favourable course of things, 5 for the country in which a town is, 

apparently preferred by Tacitus (iv. is common in Greek, hardly a 

28. 4) as a more accurate expression, conscious Grecism in Latin, 
harmonizing with the impersonal Ch. XVI. 1 tanta mole belli] 

construction of succedere, than the An abl. abs., ' when the war was on - 

simple use ' by their success, ' which, such a scale. ' 
however, is not uncommon. in summa] For the abl. instead of 

3 quorum . . . circumvenerunt] the more usual in summam, cf. Ann. 

Notice the Tacitean way of making xiii. 38. 1, and a v. I. in Liv. iii. 61. 
the mere order of the words tell the 2 Corsorum viribus] Ironical of 


auxilio, etiam si provenisset. Vocatis principibus insulae 
consilium aperit, et contra dicere ausos, Claudium Pyrrhicum 
trierarchum Liburnicarum ibi navium, Quintium Certum 
equitem Romanum, interfici jubet. Quorum morte exterriti 3 
qui aderant, simul ignara et alieni metus socia imperitorum 
turba, in verba Vitellii juravere. Sed ubi delectum agere 4 
Pacarius et inconditos homines fatigare militiae muneribus 
occepit, laborem insolitum perosi iniirmitatem suam reputabant : 
insulam esse quam incolerent, et longe Germaniam viresque 
legionum; direptos vastatosque classe etiam quos cohortes 
alaeque protegerent. Et aversi repente animi ; nee tamen 5 
aperta vi, aptum tempus insidiis legere. Digressis qui Pacarium 
frequentabant, nudus et auxilii inops balineis interficitur ; truci- 
dati et comites. Capita, ut hostium, ipsi interfectores ad 6 
Othonem tulere ; neque eos aut Otho praemio affecit aut 
puniit Vitellius, in multa conluvie rerum majoribus flagitiis 
1 7 Aperuerat jam Italiam bellumque transmiserat, ut supra 
memoravimus, ala Siliana, nullo apud quemquam Othonis 
favore, nee quia Vitellium mallent : sed longa pax ad omne 

itself, though inani auxilio is added, was no opening for violence, they 

in case any one should miss seeing . . .' 

it. qui Pacarium frequentabant] 

principibus insulae] It is per- The principes of § 2, distinguished 

haps worth comparing Acts xxviii. from comites, his Roman suite. 

7 ; it gives us some notion of what 6 ut hostium] They were treated 

these local notabilities were, that as * public enemies/ i.e. traitors in 

Malta maintained only one of them, arms. One cannot compare 12. 4, 

who apparently (from his name) had for the laws of war would not have 

received Roman citizenship. called for such treatment of a foreign 

4 inconditos] Without the spirit enemy. 

of discipline, as well as the know- Ch. XVII. 1 Aperuerat] We 

ledge of drill. have a similar phrase in iii. 2. 9, 

5 nee . . . vi] 'They did so, reseratam Italiam. Aperire is the 
however, not by open force, but ' common word in this sense ; that 
. . . the abl. abs. is like that in 14. in 21. 1 is similar. Both are 
4, the verb being supplied partly held to be extensions of the applica- 
from aversi and partly from legere. tion of the word to a fencer ' laying 
This seems better than to force the himself open.' 

meaning of aperta, ' yet, as there supra] i. 70. 1 ; immediately after 


servitium fregerat, faciles occupantibus et melioribus incuriosos. 
Florentissimum Italiae latus, quantum inter Padum Alpesque 2 
camporum et urbium, armis Vitellii (namque et praemissae a 
Caecina cohortes advenerant,) tenebatur. Capta Pannoniorum 
cohors apud Cremonam ; intercepti centum equites ac mille 
classici inter Placentiam Ticinumque. Quo successu Vitelli- 3 
anus miles non jam flumine aut ripis arcebatur. Inritabat 
quin etiam Batavos Transrhenanosque Padus ipse ; quem 
repente contra Placentiam transgressi, raptis quibusdam 
exploratoribus ita ceteros terruere ut adesse omnem Caecinae 

1 8 exercitum trepidi ac falsi nuntiarent. Certum erat Spurinnae 
(is enim Placentiam obtinebat,) necdum venisse Caecinam, et, 
si propinquaret, coercere intra munimenta militem, nee tris 
praetorias cohortes et mille vexillarios cum paucis equitibus 
veterano exercitui obicere. Sed indomitus miles et belli 2 
ignarus correptis signis vexillisque ruere, et retinenti duci 
tela intentare, spretis centurionibus tribunisque : quin prodi 
Othonem et accitum Caecinam clamitabant. Fit temeritatis 3 
alienae comes Spurinna, primo coactus, mox velle simulans, 
qiio plus auctoritatis inesset consiliis, si seditio mitesceret. 

1 9 Postquam in conspectu Padus et nox appetebat, vallari castra 
placuit Is labor urbano militi insolitus contundit animos. 
Turn vetustissimus quisque castigare credulitatem suam, metum 2 

which passage,we are told of the ftrae- of the two infinitives with this : 

missae cohortes of the next section. * Spurinna . . . had made up his 

melioribus incuriosos] We mind that Caecina was not yet come, 

have the same construction, Ann. and, if he were coming, to keep the 

xiv. 38. 3. . Or. holds the case to soldiers in . . . ' 
be dative rather than ablative. Ch. XIX. 1 placuit] Tacitus is 

2 Pannoniorum] See 14. 3. glad of the impersonal form : if one 

3 Batavos Transrhenanosque] were forced to say who ' thought 
They wanted to show that they it proper,' it would be Spurinna, 
were used to large rivers, and not but it commended itself as obviously 
afraid of them. proper to everybody. 

falsi] An example of the original 2 vetustissimus] Used almost 

and rare use as a participle. as a superlative to yeteranus ; so i. 

Ch. XVIII. 1 Certum erat] 23. 1. It is suggested that these 

There is a zeugma in the coupling would be the vexillarii. 


ac "discrimen ostendere, si cum exefcitu Caecina, patentibus 
campis, tarn paucas cohortes circumfudisset. Jamque totis 3 
castris modesti sermones, et inserentibus se centurionibus 
tribunisque laudari providentia ducis, quod coloniam virium 
et opum validam robur ac sedem bello legisset. Ipse postremo 4 
Spurinna, non tarn culpam exprobrans quam ratione ostendens, 
relictis exploratoribus ceteros Placentiam reduxit minus 
turbidos et imperia accipientes. Solidati muri, propugnacula 5 
addita, auctae turres, provisa parataque non arma modo sed 
obsequium et parendi amor ; quod solum illis partibus defuir, 
cum virtutis haud paeniteret. 
20 At Caecina, velut relicta post Alpes saevitia ac licentia, 
modesto agmine per Italiam incessit. Ornatum ipsius muni- 
cipia et coloniae in superbiam trahebant, quod versicolori 
saguio, bracas barbarum tegmen indutus, togatos alloqueretur. 
Uxorem autem ejus Saloninam, quamquam in nullius injuriam 2 
insigni equo ostroque veheretur, tamquam laesi gravabantur, 
insita mortalibus natura recentem aliorum felicitatem acribus 
oculis introspicere, modumque fortunae a nullis magis exigere 
quam quos in aequo viderunt. Caecina Padum transgressus, 3 
tentata Othonianorum fide per conloquium et promissa, isdem 

4 ciilpam probably goes with and so thought he looked well in the 
both participles, though ratione costume of a Gaul. We naturally 
balances it rhetorically, which might think of the 'plaid and trews,' but 
tempt one to translate, ' showing by it is doubtful whether even the 
arguments how things stood. ' former is ancient ; and the bracae 

5 paeniteret] Almost equivalent were universal in Gaul, not peculiar 
to paenitendum esset, ' had no fault to a man of rank. 

to find in it. ' 2 in nullius injuriam] It did no 

Ch. XX. I post] Compare Virg. one any wrong ; but Tacitus is not 

Georg. iii. 2. 13, l post montem ofifiosi- quite sure that it was not indecent. 

turn et trans jiumina lata. 1 Tiberius had complained of the 

saevitia ac licentia, I. 77 sqq. elder Agrippina's prominence in 

l>art»aruni tegmen] So Virg. her husband's army ; and public 

Aen. xi. 777. The versicolor sagu- opinion disapproved of her daughter 

lum as well as the bracae were sitting by Claudius, in a paluda- 

characteristically Celtic. Caecina mentum, to receive the surrender 

was tall and handsome (i. 53. 1), of Caractacus. 

and perhaps light-complexioned, 3 isdem] By the same means, 


petitus, postquam pax et concordia speciosis et inritis nomini- 
bus jactata sunt, consilia curasque in oppugnationem Placentiae 
magno terrore vertit, gnarus, ut initia belli provenissent, famam 
2 I in cetera fore. Sed primus dies impetu magis quam veteran i 
exercitus artibus transactus : aperti incautique muros subiere, 
cibo vinoque praegraves. In eo certamine pulcherrimum 
amphitheatri opus, situm extra muros, conflagravit, sive ab 
oppugnatoribus incensum, dum faces et glandes et missilem 
ignem in obsessos jaculantur, sive ab obsessis, dum retorta 
ingerunt. Municipale volgus, pronum ad suspiciones, fraude 3 
inlata ignis alimenta credidit a quibusdam e vicinis coloniis, 
invidia et aemulatione, quod nulla in Italia moles tarn capax 
foret. Quocunque casu accidit, dum atrociora metuebantur, 4 
in levi habitum ; reddita securitate, tamquam nihil gravius pati 
potuissent, maerebant. Ceterum multo suorum cruore pulsus 
Caecina ; et nox parandis operibus assumpta. Vitelliani $ 
pluteos cratesque et vineas subfodiendis muris protegendisque 
obpugnatoribus, Othoniani sudes et inmensas lapidum ac 
plumbi aerisque moles perfringendis obruendisque hostibus 

colloquium et promissa. It would mon meaning, would be out of 

be a gratuitous harshness to take it place, as he is plainly giving only 

as a dat. or abl. of the agent. the possible causes of the fire. 

famam in cetera] C. and B. missilem ignem will include the 

excellently, ' prestige. ' One may other two as well as falaricas, and 

notice as unusual the suppression of such missiles expressly used for the 

ita or talent : cf. iv. 4. 5. purpose. 

Ch. XXI. 1 artibus] ' The mea- retorta] ' Tormentorum ope re- 

sures, the arts that ought to be em- missa? The word is corrupt in M., 

ployed by a veteran army,' for the but the alteration is slight, and the 

German troops really were veterans. meaning required of the word very 

The word artibus is quite general, Tacitean. 

but especially fit to be opposed 4 assumpta] The remainder of 

to impetu. the day not being long enough ; 

cibo vinoque praegraves] Vitel- there is no need for the correction 

lius had abolished discipline, and absumpta. 

got enthusiasm instead ; but the 5 perfringendis obruendisque 

latter was only sustained by material hostibus] To be used when the 

stimulants. enemy formed a lestudo, to which 

2 glandes] Probably red - hot alone the words are applicable ; cf. 

shot, we cannot tell how discharged ; Hi. 27.4. 
leaden bullets from slings, the com- 


expediunt. Utnmque pudor, utrimque gloria, et diversae 6 
exhortationes, hinc legionum et Germanici exercitus robur, 
inde urbanae militiae et praetoriarum cohortium decus attol- 
lentium ; illi ut segnem et desidem et circo ac theatris corrup- 
tum militem, hi peregrinum et externum increpabant. Simul 
Othonem ac Vitellium celebrantes culpantesve, uberioribus 
2 2 inter se probris quam laudibus stimulabantur. Vixdum orto 
die plena propugnatoribus moenia, fulgentes armis virisque 
campi, densum legionum agmen, sparsa auxiliorum manus, 
altiora murorum sagittis aut saxis incessere, neglecta aut aevo 
fluxa comminus adgredi. Ingerunt desuper Othoniani pila, 2 
librato magis et certo ictu, adversus temere subeuntes cohortes 
German orum cantu truci et more patrio nudis corporibus 
super humeros scuta quatientium. Legionarius pluteis et 3 
cratibus tectus submit muros, instruit aggerem, molitur portas. 
.Contra praetoriani dispositos ad id ipsum molares ingenti 
pondere ac fragore provolvunt. Pars subeuntium obruti ; pars 4 
confixi et exsangues aut laceri, cum augeret stragem trepidatio, 

6 pudor. . . gloria] The less and late war-whoop, and Tacitus, I.e., 
more hopeful sides of the same feel- seems to imply that the cantus 
ing. passed into one. Notice that the 

7 uberioribus . . . stimulabantur] most barbarous auxiliaries are or- 
' They found on both sides re- ganized in cohortes ; however much 
proaches more plentiful than praises they retain of their native mode of 
to use as incitements;' each side fighting, they have received a disci- 
soon came to the end of the good pline beyond that of their own 
qualities of their own emperor, but catervae. 

were able to go on abusing the 3 aggerem] For engines to be 

other without exhausting the subject. placed on. Besides raising them 

Ch. XXII. 1 legionum] Strictly more nearly to a level with the 

speaking Caecina had only one walls, the earthwork would, like 

legion (i. 61. 2), but no doubt he that of a modern battery, shelter 

had detachments from others. In the men working them, 

fact, the word as here used is virt- molitur] Similarly used in Liv. 

ually equivalent to legionariorum* xxiii. 18. 2 — there the only resist- 

2 librato magis] Liv. xxx. 10 ance to be overcome is that of the 

has, in a similar passage, the form gate itself, — and in Ann. i. 39. 4 

libratior. the use has advanced still further, 

cantu truci] The baritus of for there it is of bursting a common 

Germ. in. 1. Later writers however house door, 

seem to usethatwordof aninarticu- 4 confixi] Not by the stones 

TAC. il H 


eoque acrius e moenibus volnerarentur, rediere infracta partium 
fama. Et Caecina, pudore coeptae temere obpugnationis, ne 5 
inrisus ac vanus isdem castris adsideret, trajecto rursus Pado 
Cremonam petere intendit. Tradidere sese abeunti Turullius 6 
Cerialis cum compluribus classicis, et Julius Breganticus cum 
paucis equitum, hie praefectus alae, in Batavis genitus, ille 
primipilaris, et Caecinae haud alienus, quod ordines in Germania 
23 Spurinna, comperto itinere hostium, defensam Placentiam, 
quaeque acta et quid Caecina pararet, Annium Galium per 
litteras docet. Gallus legionem primam in auxilium Placentiae 2 
ducebat, diffisus paucitate cohortium, ne longius obsidium et 
vim Germanici exercitus parum tolerarent. Ubi pulsum 3 
Caecinam pergere Cremonam accepit, aegre coercitam legionem 
et pugnandi ardore usque ad seditionem progressam, Bedriaci 
sistit. Inter Veronam Cremonamque situs est vicus, duabus 
jam Romanis cladibus notus infaustusque. 

Isdem diebus a Marcio Macro haud procul Cremona pros- 4 
pere pugnatum. Namque promptus animi Marcius transvectos 
navibus gladiatores in adversam Padi ripam repente effudit. 

(the word would not be used of imply) except for these two disas- 

such wounds), but explained by cum ters ; and people hearing of it for 

. . . volnerarentur. the first time seem to have written 

rediere] M. has redire, and it is it anyhow. Juv. (according to the 

not impossible that Tacitus puts the best edd. ) makes the third letter a 

historic inf. to balance obruti. b, Plutarch and Suetonius a /. It 

6 in Batavis genitus gives his is said to have been twenty miles 

motive, as et . . . duxerat gives from Cremona, but the distances 

Cerialis*. given by Tacitus (iii. 15. 5, 18. 1) 

Ch. XXIII. 2 diffisus paucitate] seem to imply less. At all events 
The same construction is found in it is not certainly identified. 
Suet. Jul. 3, and in one or two duaous] The second battle be- 
later writers. At the same time, gan half way between Bedriacum 
since M. has the dat. substituted by and Cremona, and ended under the 
the first hand, it cannot be said that walls of the latter. But of course 
the reading of the text is certain. it was less inaccurate to identify 

3 Bedriaci] So, according to all these two battle-fields than those of 

our evidence, Tacitus spells it, and Pharsalia and Philippi. 
so Josephus. It was a small place, 4 Marcio Macro] He was consul 

unknown (as he seems here to elect, 71. 3. 


Turbata ibi Vitellianorum auxilia, et, ceteris Cremonam 5 
fugientibus, caesi qui restiterant. Sed repressus vincentium 
impetus, ne novis subsidiis firmati hostes fortunam praelii 
mutarent. Suspectum id Othonianis fuit, omnia ducum facta 
prave aestimantibus. Certatim, ut quisque animo ignavus, 
procax ore, Annium Galium et Suetonium Paulinum et Marium 
Celsum (t nam eos quoque Otho praefecerat,) variis crimi- 
nibus incesserant. Acerrima seditionum ac discordiae 6 
incitamenta interfectores Galbae. Scelere et metu vecordes 
miscere cuncta, modo palam turbidis vocibus, modo oc- 
cultis ad Othonem litteris ; qui humillimo cuique credulus, 
bonos metuens trepidabat, rebus prosperis incertus et inter 
adversa melior. Igitur Titianum fratrem accitum bello prae- 
24 Interea Paulini et Celsi ductu res egregiae gestae. Ange- 
bant Caecinam nequicquam omnia coepta et senescens exer- 
citus sui fama. Pulsus Placentia, caesis nuper auxiliis, etiam 2 
per concursum exploratorum, crebra magis quam digna memo- 
ratu praelia, inferior, propinquante Fabio Valente, ne omne 
belli decus illuc concederet, reciperare gloriam avidius quam 
consultius properabat. Ad duodecimum a Cremona (locus 
Castorum vocatur,) ferocissimos auxiliarium imminentibus viae 

5 nam . . . praefecerat] Ritter and rewarded they had not been pro- 

Or. think these words otiose, though moted. 

the latter thinks some parenthesis of Ch. XXIV. I Paulini et Celsi] 

the sort necessary. Perhaps most Gallus had perhaps already met 

will be satisfied with BurnouP s with his accident (33. 1). 

explanation, that eos quoque means 2 concursum exploratorum] * In 

'Paulinus and Celsus, as well as collision between their skirmishers ;' 

Gallus,' whom we have just had praelia in apposition to concursum. 

mentioned, not * Paulinus, Celsus, 3 Castorum] Suet, has ' ad Cas- 

and Gallus, as well as Macer.' forts,' Orosius (who used Tacitus) 

6 interfectores] The actual or Castores. Castores seems to have been 

alleged slayers, named in i. 41. 6; commoneras a popular than a literary 

those who had merely taken part in translation of Atoa-Kovpot ; at least 

the mutiny, and been present at his Plin. H. N. x. 43, 60, xxxiv. 11, 

death, would be too large a class to is the only authority quoted for it 

be thus designated. Humillimo earlier than Servius and St. Jerome 

cuique seems to show that though (Acts xxviii. 11). But the gemimts 


lucis occultos componit. Equites procedere longius jussi, et, 
irritato praelio sponte refugi, festinationem sequentium elicere, 
donee insidiae coorerentur. Proditum id Othonfanis ducibus, 4 
et curam peditum Paulinus, equitum Celsus sumpsere. Tertiae 
decimae legionis vexillum, quattuor auxiliorum cohortes et 
quingenti equites in sinistro locantur ; aggerem viae tres prae- 
toriae cohortes altis ordinibus obtinuere ; dextra fronte prima 
legio incessit cum duabus auxiliaribus cohortibus et quingentis 
equitibus. Super hos e praetorio auxiliisque mille equites, 5 
cumulus prosperis aut subsidium laborantibus, ducebantur. 
25 Antequam miscerentur acies, terga vertentibus Vitellianis, 
Celsus doli prudens repressit suos. Vitelliani temere exsur- 
gentes cedente sensim Celso, longius secuti ultro in insidias 
praecipitantur. Nam a lateribus cohortes, *j- legionum (legion- 
ariorum ?) adversa frons, et subito discursu terga cinxerant 
equites. Signum pugnae non statim a Suetonio Paulino pediti 2 
datum. Cunctator natura, et cui cauta potius consilia cum 

Pollux of Hor. Od. iii. 29. 64 is nam . . . equites] ' For there 

the same in principle (Ov. A. A. i. were the cohorts on their flanks, the 

746 is not so clear). legionaries meeting them in front, 

lucis] Belonging to the temple. and the cavalry, suddenly starting 

4 vexillum] Included among from their opposite stations, had 

the 2000 men sent in advance of the surrounded their rear. ' Or. and 

main 'body, 11. 2. other, editors are dissatisfied with 

aggerem viae] So iii. 21. 2. legionum ; they say there was only 

Then as here it was occupied altis one : but the same considerations 

ordinibus (for a whole legion was apply as in c. 22. 1. 

got upon it), because the open space 2 Cunctator] The memory of 

and firm footing made attack easier Fabius made the word bear a 

(see cap. iii. 23. 2). habitually good sense (Liv. xxii. 

dextra fronte] The right wing, 12.) In iii. 4. 2 we have it (or the 

not really different from dextro cornu. comparative irregularly formed from 

Neither Greeks nor Romans ever it), in perhaps a neutral one. But 

fought ' in line ' in our sense, and if it be good to be cunctator from 

therefore the profile of their for- choice, it is not good to be so by 

mation would always present an temperament. Liv. vi. 23 opposes 

appreciable fron s. it to acerrimus bellator. 

Ch. XXV. 1 ViteUianis ... cui cauta . . . placerent] 'To 

Vitelliani] The first are the ad- whom science gave more charm to 

vancing cavalry, the next the am- cautious measures than success to 

bushes in the groves. such as chance originated. ' 


ratione quam prospera ex casu placerent, compleri fossas, 
aperiri campum, pandi aciem jubebat ; satis cito incipi victoriam 
ratus, ubi provisum foret ne vincerentur. Ea cunctatione 3 
spatium Vitellianis datum in vineas, nexu traducum impeditas, 
refugiehdi. Et modica silva adhaerebat ; imde rursus ausi 
promptissimos praetorianorum equitum interfecere. Volnera- 
26 tur rex Epiphanes, impigre pro Othone pugnam ciens. Turn 
Othonianus pedes erupit. Protrita hostium acie, versi in 
fugam etiam qui subveniebant. Nam Caecina non simul 
cohortes sed singulas acciverat; quae res in praelio trepida- 
tionem auxit, cum dispersos nee usquam validos pavor fugien- 
tium abriperet. Orta et in castris seditio, quod non universi 2 
ducerentur. Vinctus praefectus castrorum Julius Gratus, 
tamquam fratri apud Othonem militanti proditionem ageret, 
cum fratrem ejus, Julium Frontonem tribunum, Othoniani sub 
eodem crimine vinxissent. C^eterum ea ubique formido fuit 3 
apud fugientes, occursantes, in acie, pro vallo, ut deleri cum 
universo exercitu Caecinam potuisse, ni Suetonius Paulinus 
receptui cecinisset, utrisque in partibus percrebruerit. Timuisse 4 
se Paulinus ferebat tan turn in super laboris at que itineris, ne 
Vitellianus miles recens e castris fessos adgrederetur, et 
perculsis nullum retro subsidium foret. Apud paucos ea ducis 
ratio probata, in volgus adverso rumore fuit. 

3 vineas . . . silva] So 41. 5, iii. Ch. XXVI. I Turn] When they 

21. 2, densis arbustis. See note on saw their cavalry suffering — per- 

the former place. haps without waiting to complete 

unde rursus ausi] * From which Paulinus' precautions, 

(cover) they gained renewed cour- 2 fratri . . . proditionem ageret] 

age. ' It is hardly meant that they The meaning is no doubt the 

left the cover. same as the common construction 

rex Epiphanes] Son to the cum fratre de proditione ageret. 

reigning king (so v. 9. 2, and regina The dative is used as the case 

inVirg. Aen. vi. 28), Antiochus that would follow the cognate verb 

of Commagene. It is not certain prodere. 

whether they were really descended 3 occursantes] The reinforce- 

from the great Seleucid dynasty, ments successively sent up. 

but perhaps the vetustis opibus of 4 apud paucos, etc.] Tacitus 

81. 1 implies it. on the whole does not believe in 


2/ Haud perinde id damnum Vitellianos in metum compulit 
quam ad modestiam composuit ; nee solum apud Caecinam, 
qui culpam in militem conferebat seditioni magis quam praelio 
paratum : Fabii quoque Valentis copiae (jam enim Ticinum 
venerat,) posito hostium contemptu et recuperandi decoris 
cupidine reverentius et aequalius duci parebant Gravis 2 
alioquin seditio exarserat, quam altiore initio (neque enim 
rerum a Caecina gestarum ordinem interrumpi oportuerat,) 
repetam. Cohortes Batavorum, quas, bello Neronis a quarta 3 
decima legion e digressas, cum Britanniam peterent, audito 
Vitellii motu in civitate Lingonum Fabio Valenti adjunctas 
rettulimus, superbe agebant, ut cujus^ legionis tentoria 
accessissent, coercitos a se quartadecimanos, ablatam Neroni 
Italiam, atque omnem belli fortunam in ipsorum manu sitam 
jactantes. Contumeliosum id militibus, acerbum duci ; cor- 4 
rupta jurgiis aut rixis disciplina ; ad postremum Valens e 

28 petulantia etiam perfidiam suspectabat. Igitur nuntio adlato 
pulsam Trevirorum alam Tungrosque a classe Othonis, et 
Narbonensem Galliam circumiri, simul cura socios tuendi et 
militari astu cohortes turbidas ac, si una forent, praevalidas 
dispergendi, partem Batavorum ire in subsidium jubet. Quod 2 
ubi auditum volgatumque, maerere socii, fremere legiones. 
Orbari se fortissimorum virorum auxilio ; veteres illos et tot 
bellorum victores, postquam in conspectu sit hostis, velut ex 

either his sound judgment or his rettulimus] i. 59. 2, 64. 3, 4. 

treachery ; cf. 60. 3. coercitos . . . Italiam] We have 

Ch. XXVII. I conferebat] not sufficient details of the fall of 

Tried to. Tacitus clearly thinks Nero to determine what was the 

that he was to blame himself (24. foundation for these claims ; but the 

2). sense clearly is, that but for them 

aequalius] More steadily, uni- the 14th (see 11. 3) would have gone 

formly. with Nero. 

2 neque enim . . . oportuerat] belli] Probably the present onej 

' For it would have been improper ' having decided the former, they -. 

is the right translation, though opor- felt confident of deciding this. 
tuisset would not have been the Ch. XXVIII. 1 circumiri] An 

natural mood. exaggeration, 15. 4. 

3 "bello Neronis] Against Vindex. militari astu] The former word 


acie abduci. Si provincia urbe et salute imperii potior sit, 3 
omnes illuc sequerentur : sin victoriae sanitas, sustentaculum, 
columen in Italia verteretur, non abrumpendos, ut corpori, 

29 validissimos artus. Haec ferociter jactando, postquam inmissis 
lictoribus Valens coercere seditionem coeptabat, ipsum in- 
vadunt, saxa jaciunt, fugientem sequuntur. Spolia Galliarum 2 
et Viennensium aurum et pretia laborum suorum occultare 
clamitantes, direptis sarcinis, tabernacula ducis ipsamque 
humum pilis et lanceis rimabantur. Nam Valens servili veste 
apud decurionem equitum tegebatur. Turn Alfenius Varus 3 
praefectus castrorum, derlagrante paulatim seditione, addit 
consilium, vetitis obire vigilias centurionibus, omisso tubae 
sono, quo miles ad belli munia cietur. Igitur torpere cuncti, 4 
circumspectare inter se attoniti et id ipsum, quod nemo regeret, 
paventes. Silentio, patientia, postremo precibus ac lacrimis 
veniam quaerebant. Ut vero deformis et flens et praeter 5 
spem incolumis Valens processit, gaudium, miseratio, favor: 
versi in laetitiam, ut est volgus utroque inmodicum. Laudantes 
gratantesque circumdatum aquilis signisque in tribunal ferimt. 
Ille utili moderatione non supplicium cujusquam poposcit ; 6 
ac, ne dissimulans suspectior foret, paucos incusavit; gnarus 

30 civilibus bellis plus militibus quam ducibus licere. Munienti- 
bus castra apud Ticinum de ad versa Caecinae pugna adlatum, 
et prope renovata seditio, tamquam fraude et cunctationibus 
Valentis praelio defuissent Nolle requiem, non exspectare 
ducem, anteire signa, urguere signiferos. Rapido agmine 

is a compliment (iii. 15. 2), the 2 Spolia Galliarum] From the 

latter turns it into a doubtful one. time of the defeat of Vindex. 

3 sanitas] ' Integrity/ ' complete- Viennensium aurum] The ran- 

ness. ' som of i. 66. 

columen] Almost synonymous 4 Silentio, patientia] By say- 

with sustenlacuhmi. ing nothing and doing ' nothing 

Ch. XXIX. 1 inmissis] 'Hav- violent. 

ing set his Kctors on them.' The 5 circumdatum aquilis signis- 

word is most commonly used of a que] So i. 36. 1. 

charge of cavalry, or of dogs or 6 dissimulans] 'If he took no 

wild beasts turned loose on a man. notice ' of the mutiny. 


Caecinae junguntur. Inprospera Valentis fama apud exer- 2 
citum Caecinae erat : expositos se tanto pauciores integris 
h ostium viribus querebantur, simul in suam excusationem, et 
adventantium robur per adulationem attollentes, ne ut victi 
et ignaviidespectarentur. Et quamquam plus virium, prope 3 
duplicatus. legionum auxiliorumque numerus erat Valenti, 
studia tamen militum in Caecinam inclinabant, super benigni- 
tatem animi, qua promptior habebatur, etiam vigore aetatis, 
proceritate corporis et quodam inani favore. Hinc aemulatio 4 
ducibus; Caecina ut foedum ac maculosum, ille ut tumidum 
ac vanum inridebant. Sed condito odio eandem utilitatem 5 
fovere, crebris epistolis, sine respectu veniae, probra Othoni \.~> 
objectantes, cum duces partium Othonis^quamvis uberrima 
3 1 conviciorum in Vitellium materia abstinerent. Sane ; ante 
utriusque exitum, quo egregiam Otho famam, Vitellius flagitio- ^ 
sissimam meruere, minus Vitellii ignavae voluptates) quam 
Othonis flagrantissimae libidines timebantur. Addiderat huic 2 
terrorem atque odium caedes Galbae : contra illi initium belli 

Ch. XXX. 2 tanto pauciores] and the idle attraction of good looks. 

Than Valens' army, not than Otho's. Notice the position of the pronoun, 

Caecina had 30,000 men, Valens which is almost always interposed 

40,000(1. 61. 2). between the epithet and the substan- 

3 legionum auxiliorumque] As tive ; when arranged as here (cf.Cic. 

Valens had not two whole legions de Or. iii. 12. 44) the sense seems to 

to Caecina's one, we are probably undergo an untranslateable modi- 

to take this as meaning * nearly fication. 

twice as many legionary and auxi- 4 foedum ac maculosum] Taci- 

liary troops'' (see on 22. 1), the Ger- tus is fond of combining the two 

manorum auxilia of i. 61. 3 being epithets, as i. 7. 2, which explains 

irregular troops, like the Pannonians the precise force, Ann. xiii. 33. 

of 14. 3, and not reckoned among the 3 . 

disciplined auxilia, here coupled 5 duces] The soldiers did not, 

with the legionaries. These would 21. 7. Tacitus seems to think the 

make the gross totals of the two abstinence suspicious (cf. iii. 9. 5), 

armies less unequal than their effec- and goes on to explain that no 

tive strength. thoughtful men were hearty in Otho's^ 

quodam inani favore] Inanis cause, 
means less * groundless ' or ' unsub- Ch. XXXI. 1 flagrantissimae] 

stantial, ' than * resting on unsub- He was twenty years younger, else 

stantial grounds,' viz., the rather Vitellius' character had been no 

hollow reputation for generosity, better in his time, i. 74. 2. 


nemo inputabat. Vitellius (ventre et gula) sibi inhonestus, 5 
Otho luxu, saevitia, audacia, rei publicae exitiosior ducebatur. 

; Conjunctis Caecinae ac Valentis copiis; nulla ultra, penes 3 
Vitellianos) mora quin totis viribus certarent. Otho consul- 
tavit, trahi bellum an fortunam experiri placeret Tunc 4 
Suetonius Paulinus dignum fama sua ratus, qua nemo ilia 
tempestate militaris rei 1 callidior habebatur, Ide toto genere 
belli censere^ ' festinationem hostibus, moram ipsis utilem ; 

3 2 disseruit : * Exercitum Vitellii universum advenisse, nee 
multum virium a tergo, quoniam Galliae tumeant, et deserere 
Rheni ripam, inruptuns tarn infestis nationibus, non conducat. 
Britannicum militem hoste et marl distineri ; Hispanias armis 2 

' . non ita redundare ;' provinciam Narbonensem incursu classis 
et ad verso praelio contremuisse ; clausam Alpibus, et nullo 
maris subsidio, transpadanam Italiam, atque ipso transitu 

• ; - : ; exercitus) vastam ; non frumentum usquam exercitui, nee 
exercitum (sine copiis) retineri posse. Jam Germanos, quod 3 
genus militum apud hostes atrocissimum sit,iracto in aestatem 
bello) fluxis corporibus, mutationem soli caelique haud tolera- 

2 nemo inputabat may mean Ch. XXXII. 1 tumeant] The 

either that Otho's crime, the murder sense of the verb from which 

of Galba, happened at Rome under tutnultus is derived ; Liv. xxxi. 8 

men's eyes, while Vitellius 5 really exhibits a transition between this 

more deadly crime was committed and a more ordinary usage. Tacitus 

out of sight and out of mind ; or hardly meant to credit Suetonius 

that though men felt the heavy with foreseeing the serious revolt 

guilt of commencing the war, they that ensued, but makes him refer to 

acquitted Vitellius of it — he never the dissensions noticed in i. 51, 

would have had energy enough to 63-5. 

do it out of his own head. The 2 hoste] Cf. i. 9. 3. 

first view is supported by 55. 2, Hispanias] There was only one 

which shows how men at Rome legion there. 

forgot that Vitellius had revolted clausam Alpibus] It was now only 

from Galba, not Otho. April, so Vitellius' forces would find 

4] See on i. 87. 4. Here the the passage easier than Caecina's 

sense seems to be, that Paulinus had : but he is speaking of supplies, 

thought it his business as the best not reinforcements, 

general to state the case exhaustively, 3 Germanos . . . haud tolera- 

and leave the others nothing to add turos] Suggested to Paulinus or 

to his arguments. / to Tacitus by the memory of the old 


turos. Multa bella, impetu valida, per taedia et moras eva- 
nuisse. Contra ipsis omnia opulenta et fida, Pannoniam, 4 
Moesiam, Delmatiam, Orientem, cum integris exercitibus, 
Italiam et caput rerum urbem, senatumque et populum, 
nunquam obscura nomina, etsi aliquando obumbrentur ; publi- 
cas privatasque opes et inmensam pecuniam, inter civiles 
discordias ferro validiorem ; corpora militum aut Italiae sueta 
aut aestibus. Objacere flumen Padum, tutas viris murisque 5 
urbes ; e quibus nullam hosti cessuram Placentiae defensione 
exploratum. Proinde duceret bellum. Paucis diebus quartam 6 
decimam legionem, magna ipsam fama, cum Moesiacis copiis 
adfore : turn rursus deliberaturum, et, si praelium placuisset, 
33 auctis viribus certaturos/ Accedebat sententiae Paulini 
Marius Celsus ; idem placere Annio Gallo, paucos ante dies 
lapsu equi adflicto, missi qui consilium ejus sciscitarentur 
rettulerant. Otho pronus ad decertandum ; frater ejus Titianus, 2 
et praefectus praetorii Proculus, imperitia properantes, fortunam 
et deos et numen Othonis adesse consiliis, adfore conatibus 
testabantur. Neu quis obviam ire sententiae auderet, in 3 
adulationem concesserant. Postquam pugnari placitum, inter- 
Gallic wars ; but experience now that it was simply suicidal to refuse 
justified the opinion, 90. 2. to wait for the forces from Moesia : 

4 nunquam obscura nomina] it does not appear that any suspicion 
Contrast i. 55. 4 : that is the senti- of their loyalty was either felt or 
ment of the cynical historian, this of deserved. Otho seems to have 
the pedantically loyal soldier ; cf. acted merely in the spirit of a gam- 
also i. 84, which suggests that there bier, — perhaps a more respectable 
is a touch of flattery in the choice one than that of a mere debauchee, 
of the topic. but less akin than Tacitus thinks 

5 Objacere] He would have to that of a hero. 

used the fut. inf. if there had been 2 numen] 'The genius,' C. and 

any manageable form for expressing B. The word shows the strength, 

it : they were now on the enemy's and the context the limits, of the 

side of the Po, but his proposal, feeling which showed itself in the 

ducei'et bellitm, involved falling back deification of emperors, 

behind it. 3 Neu quis . . . concesserant] 

6 cum Moesiacis copiis] Three Titianus and Proculus had supported 
legions (85. I.) who had already their view on grounds that their op- 
reached Aquileia [ib. ii. 46. 6). ponents would not venture to attack, 

Ch. XXXIIT. 1, 2] It seems clear — ' taken refuge in flattery, ' C. and B. 


esse pugnae imperatorem an seponi melius foret dubitavere. 
Paulino et Celso jam non adversantibus, ne principem objectare 4 
periculis viderentur, iidem illi deterioris consilii auctores 
perpulere ut Brixellum concederet, ac, dubiis praeliorum 
exemptus, summae rerum et imperii se ipsum reservaret Is 5 
primus dies Othonianas partes adflixit. Nam que et cum ipso 
praetoriarum cohortium et speculatorum equitumque valida 
manus discessit, et remanentium fractus animus, quando 
suspecti duces, et Otho, cui uni apud militem fides, dum et 
ipse nonnisi militibus credit, imperia ducum in incerto reli- 
34 Nihil eorum Vitellianos fallebat, crebfis, ut in civili bello, 
transfugiis : et exploratores, cura diversa sciscitandi, sua non 
occultabant Quieti intentique Caecina ac Valens, quando 2 
hostis inprudentia rueret, quod loco sapientiae est, alienam 
stultitiam opperiebantur, inchoato ponte transitum Padi simu- 
lantes adversus obpositam gladiatorum manum, ac ne ipsorum 
miles segne otium tereret. Naves pari inter se spatio, validis 3 
utrimque trabibus cormexae, adversum in flumen dirigebantur, 
jactis super ancoris, quae firmitatem pontis continerent. Sed 
ancorarum funes non extenti fluitabant, ut, augescente flumine, 

4 deterioris consilii probably to see when the enemy would fall 
refers to their former advice, though blindly upon them, (waiting for) 
suggesting that they still took the another man's folly, which serves 
wrong side. the purposes of wisdom.' 

5 in incerto] He named no adversus . . . acne. . .] They 
commander-in-chief : the jus imperii did not seriously mean to cross the 
of 40. 2 refers to Otho's message, river, but they did seriously want 
not to Titianus and Proculus having ' to encounter the troop of gladiators 
formal authority to override Celsus opposed to them, and to prevent 
and Paulinus. 39. 1, 2 intimates their own soldiers,' etc. 

that the nominal authority of the 3 super] Or. on the whole thinks 

latter stood higher, though the this equivalent to insuper, — the 

former had more real power. anchors served, as well as the beams, 

Ch. XXXIV. 1 diversa] On the to direct the ships up stream. The 

opposite side : so diversam aciem, alternative of course is to suppose 

Ann. xiii. 57. 3. that it means the anchors were 

2 quando . . . rueret] Co-ordi- thrown upstream— as no doubt they 

nate with alienam stultitiam, * waited were in any case. 


inoffensus ordo navium attolleretur. Claudebat pontem 4 
inposita turris et in extremam navem educta, unde tormentis 
ac machinis hostes propulsarentur. Othoniani in ripa turrim 

35 struxerant, saxaque et faces jaculabantur. Et erat insula 
amne medio, in quam gladiatores, navibus molientes, Germani 
nando praelabebantur. Ac forte plures transgressos, completis 
Liburnicis, per promptissimos gladiatorum Macer adgreditur. 
Sed neque ea constantia gladiatoribus ad praelia quae militibus; 2 
nee perinde nutantes e navibus quam stabili gradu e ripa 
volnera dirigebant. Et cum variis trepidantium inclinationibus 3 
mixti remiges propugnatoresque turbarentur, desilire in vada 
ultro Germani, retentare puppes, scandere foros, aut comminus 
mergere. Quae cuncta in oculis utriusque exercitus, quanto 4 
laetiora Vitellianis, tanto acrius Othoniani causam auctorem- 

36 que cladis detestabantur. Et praelium quidem, abreptis quae 
supererant navibus. fuga diremptum : Macer ad exitium posce- 
batur. Jamque volneratum eminus lancea strictis gladiis 2 
invaserant, cum intercursu tribunorum centurionumque pro- 
tegitur. Nee multo post Vestricius Spurinna jussu Othonis, 3 
relicto Placentiae modico praesidio, cum cohortibus subvenit. 
Dein Flavium Sabinum, consulem designatum, Otho rectorem 4 

augescente . . . attolleretur] movement with the agility of the 

The river might be expected to rise, Germans. 

when the snows of the Alps melted. praelabebantur] There is a cer- 

It was the spring flood of the Dan- tsin zeugma ; the word applies to 

ube, that almost ruined Napoleon both parties in the sense ' tried to get 

at Aspern, by sweeping away his first over the water there,' to the 

bridge of boats. Germans in the sense 'got there first. ' 

4 Claudebat . . . educta] 'The 2 volnera dirigebant] The use 

bridge was terminated by a tower of the abstract word is poetical, 

placed on it, carried as far as the Aen. x. 139. 

furthest ship. ' Educta would natu- 3 comminus mergere] Catching 

rally mean 'raised, reared,' but we hold of the gunwales, and forcing 

should then have ex extrema nave, them under water by their weight 

besides that there would be no real and strength, 
distinction of sense from inposita. 4 auctorem cladis] Macer. 

So the word is used of length, not Ch. XXXVI. 3 cohortibus] 

height, in v. 18. 1. Praetorian. 

Ch. XXXV. 1 molientes 4 consulem designatum] i. 77. 4. 

merely serves to contrast their tardy Tacitus thinks the mention of his 


copiis misit quibus Macer praefuerat, laeto milite ad muta- 
tionem ducum, et ducibus ob crebras seditiones tarn infestam 
militiam aspernantibus. 

37 Invenio apud quosdam auctores pavore belli, seu fastidio 
utriusque principis, quorum flagitia ac dedecus apertiore in 
dies fama noscebantur, dubitasse exercitus num, posito certa- 
mine, vel ipsi in medium consultarent, vel senatui permitterent 
legere imperatorem. Atque eo duces Othonianos spatium ac 2 
moras suasisse, praecipua spe Paulini, quod vetustissimus 
consularium, et militia clarus, gloriam nomenque Britannicis 
expeditionibus meruisset. Ego ut concesserim apud paucos 3 
tacito voto quietem pro discordia, bonum et innocentem 
principem pro pessimis ac flagitiosissimis expetitum, ita neque 
Paulinum, qua prudentia fuit, sperasse corruptissimo saeculo 
tantam volgi moderationem reor, ut qui pacem belli amore 
turbaverant, bellum pacis caritate deponerent ; neque aut 
exercitus Unguis moribusque dissonos in hunc consensum 
potuisse coalescere, aut legatos ac duces, magna ex parte 
luxus, egestatis, scelerum sibi conscios, nisi pollutum obstrict- 

38 umque meritis suis principem passuros. Vetus ac jam pridem 
insita mortalibus potentiae cupido cum imperii magnitudine 

office distinguishes him sufficiently Moreover, Paulinus was not impro- 

from Vespasian's brother, the pre- bably older than he, though not 

feet of the city, whose office kept officially his senior, 

him in Rome, where we find him in militia clarus] He had served with 

55. 2, three days after Otho's death, credit in Africa as well as in Britain, 

while his namesake was arranging 3 amore . . . caritate] A wild 

his capitulation (51. 3). passion contrasted with a sober and 

Ch. XXXVII. 1] Tacitus is not reasonable affection, 

quite sure that the story is altogether linguis] Historically significant, 

unfounded, 41. 1, 2. as showing the importance as well 

2 praecipua spe Paulini] * Pau- as the large number of Germans in 

linus being especially urged by Vitellius' army, and how slightly 

hope,' — his personal hopes, and, in they were Romanized, 

consequence, his zeal for the pollutum] Ritter and Or. want 

measure being highest, not the hopes to connect this, as well as 6bstrictum 9 

reposed in him by others. with meritis, l one under the stain 

vetustissimus consularium] Ex- and the obligation of services re- 

cept Titianus, who of course would ceived from them.' 

be set aside if his brother were. Ch. XXXVIII. 1 potentiae] 


adolevit erupitque. Nam rebus modicis aequalitas facile habe- 2 
batur: sed ubi, subacto orbe et aemulis urbibus regibusve 
excisis, securas opes concupiscere vacuum fuit, prima inter 
patres plebemque certamina exarsere. Modo turbulenti 3 
tribuni, modo consules praevalidi, et in urbe ac foro tentamenta 
civilium bellorum ; mox e plebe innma G. Marius et nobilium 
saevissimus Lucius Sulla victam armis libertatem in domina- 
tionem verterunt. Post quos Gn. Pompeius occultior, non 4 
melior. Et nunquam postea nisi de principatu quaesitum. 
Non discessere ab armis in Pharsalia ac Philippis civium 5 
legiones : nedum Othonis ac Vitellii exercitus sponte posituri 
bellum fuerint. Eadem illos deum ira, eadem hominum rabies, 
eaedem scelerum causae in discordiam egere. Quod ' singulis 
velut ictibus transacta sunt bella, ignavia principum factum 
est. Sed me veterum novorumque morum reputatio longius 
tulit : nunc ad rerum ordinem venio. 
39 Profecto Brixellum Othone honor imperii penes Titianum ' 
fratrem, vis ac potestas penes Proculum praefectum. Celsus 2 
et Paulinus, cum prudentia eorum nemo uteretur, inani nomine 
djucum alienae culpae praetendebantur. Tribuni centurion- 3 

Tacitus is probably not wrong in mantia with Carthage, like Cic. de 

seeing, in this very Roman word, Am. 3. 11. 

the key to Roman history. The 3 et . . . bellorum] 'It was in 

men charged crimine regni affec- the capital and the forum that we 

tandi, from Cassius to the Gracchi, first essayed civil wars, 5 C. and B. 

were all doubtless guilty of potentiae He refers to the riots in which the 

cupidoy which in a republic was Gracchi were killed, and the rising 

treasonable. of Saturninus. 

2 facile habebatur] * Was easily 5 Othonis ac Vitellii exercitus] 

maintained ' expresses the force of The former included gladiators, the 

the tense : the verb is as neutral in latter was largely composed of Ger- 

sense as possible. man barbarians ; hence the antithesis 

aemulis urbibus regibusve] The to civium legiones. They had not the 

contest with Carthage and with the same motive (sense of common 

kings of Macedonia and Syria are patriotism) as the earlier armies for 

conceived as the turning point in abandoning the war, and they had 

Roman history. Perhaps the con- the same for continuing it as pre- 

quest of Syracuse, Corinth, etc. , is vailed even with the others, 

also referred to in urbibus ; it is 6 bella] The wars of our times, 

scarcely likely that he ranks Nu- It is curious that here Otho is 


esque ambigui, quod, spretis melioribus, deterrimi valebant. 
Miles alacer ; qui tamen jussa ducum interpretari quam exsequi 
mallet. Promoveri ad quartum a Bedriaco castra placuit, 4 
adeo imperite ut, quanquam verno tempore anni et tot circum 
amnibus, penuria aquae fatigarentur. Ibi de praelio dubitatum, 5 
Othone per literas flagitante ut maturarent, militibus ut impera- 
tor pugnae adesset poscentibus. Plerique copias trans Padum 6 
agentes acciri postulabant. Nee perinde dijudicari potest 
quid optimum factu fuerit, quam pessimum fuisse quod factum 
40 est. Non ut ad pugnam sed ad bellandum profecti, conflu- 
entes Padi et Adduae fluminum, sedecim inde milium spatio 
distantes, petebant. Celso et Paulino abnuentibus militem 2 
itinere fessum, sarcinis gravem, obicere hosti, non admissuro 
quo minus expeditus et vix quattuor milia passuum progressus, 
aut incompositos in agmine, aut dispersos et vallum molientes 
adgrederetur, Titianus et Proculus, ubi consiliis vincerentur, 
ad jus imperii transibant. Aderat sane citus equo Numida 3 
cum atrocibus mandatis, quibus Otho, increpita ducum 

blamed for what elsewhere is con- scarcely four miles, while they were 

sidered his one title to glory. either,' etc. 

Ch. XXXIX. 3 interpretari] vix quattuor milia] They were 

* To impute motives.' therefore encamped a mile from 

4 quartum] sc. lapidem. We the friendly (iii. 32. 3) town of Cre- 

have the same ellipsis, sup. 24. 3. mona, which is five miles from the 

The distances in Plutarch are not mouth of the Adda. TheOthonians 

exactly the same, while his narrative knew the exact situation of the 

presents even verbal coincidences enemy, from the skirmishing across 

with Tacitus ; probably both used the river of c. 34 sq. 

the same authorities, but Tacitus jus imperii] See on 33 fin. 

knew the ground better. Sane in the next sentence explains 

Ch. XL. 1 ad bellandum] ' For a that their plea was not ill founded, 

campaign,' as though the object were But no doubt before the Numidian 

simply to get a good day's march arrived, they had appealed to Otho's 

forward, with nothing to do at the desires expressed at the council of 

end of it. It is strange that some war, 32. 2. 

commentators of name try to make 3 Numida] Probably not an 

it = ad debellandum. auxiliary trooper, but a slave of 

2 non admissuro, etc.] 'Who Otho : the commentators prove from 
would not commit such a blunder Seneca and Martial that African 
as not to fall on them, himself un- outriders were part of the fashion- 
encumbered and after a march of able state of a wealthy Roman. 


segnitia, rem in discrimen mitti jubebat, aeger mora et spei 
4 1 Eodem die ad Caecinam operi pontis intentum duo prae- 
toriarum cohortium tribuni, conloquium ejus postulantes, 
venerunt. Audire condiciones ac reddere parabat, cum prae- 
cipites exploratores adesse hostem nuntiavere. Interruptus z 
tribunorum sermo ; eoque incertum fuit, insidias an proditionem 
vel aliquod honestum consilium coeptaverint. Caecina, 3 
dimissis tribunis, revectus in castra, datum jussu Fabii Valentis 
pugnae signum et militem in arfnis invenit. Dum legiones de 
ordine agminis sortiuntur, equites prorupere ; et, mirum dictu, 
a paucioribus Othonianis, quo minus in vallum inpingerentur, 
Italicae legionis virtute deterriti sunt. Ea, strictis mucronibus, 
redire pulsos et pugnam resumere coegit. Disposita Vitellian- 
arum legionum acies sine trepidatione : etenim, quamquam 
vicino hoste, aspectus armorum densis arbustis prohibebatur. 
Apud Othonianos pavidi duces, miles ducibus infensus, mixta 6 
vehicula et lixae, et, praeruptis utrimque fossis, via quieto 
quoque agmini angusta. Circumsistere alii signa sua, quaerere 

spei] ' Expectancy :' not so rare kept off,' etc. The Othoniani 

in a neutral sense, 'expectation,' mentioned were the duae alae of 

but seldom without a gen. or other iii. 28. For the hyperbolical sense 

indication of the thing expected. of inpingere, cf. Virg. Aen. v. 805. 

Ch. XLI. 2 an . . . vel] 5 densis arbustis] The trees 

* Whether their object was a snare being doubtless planted in a quin- 

for him or a betrayal of Otho — or cunx, there were no avenues down 

some honourable proposal,' such as which there was an uninterrupted 

that mentioned in c. 37. The two view : moreover the vine-branches 

former are conceived as alternatives, were trained from tree to tree, 

one as likely as the other — then the though perhaps at this season they 

third is thrown in, as an alternative would not interrupt the sight as 

to both. much as they did (25. 3) the 

4 a paucioribus Othonianis] Of advance, 

course dependent on inpingerentur : 6 mixta . . . fossis] The agmen 

compare note on 15. 3. A trans- kept along the high-road from 

lator can only maintain the order choice, though they would have 

by a complete change of construe- liked it wider ; the vehicula could 

tion : ' and, strange to say, the . not get on off it, for though there 

Othonians, in inferior force, were were no vineyards (43. 1, patenti^ 

on the point of dashing them against campo) on one side of the road, the 

the ramparts, had they not been soft rich soil, only kept by deep 


alii ; incertus undique clamor adcurrentium, vocitantium. Ut 7 
cuique audacia vel formido, in primam postremamve aciem 

42 prorumpebant aut relabebantur. Attonitas subito terrore 
mentes falsum gaudium in languorem vertit, repertis qui de- 
scivisse a Vitellio exercitum ementirentur. Is rumor, ab explo- 2 
ratoribus Vitellii dispersus, an in ipsa Othonis parte seu dolo 
seu forte surrexerit, parum compertum. Omisso pugnae ardore 
Othoniani ultro salutavere ; et hostili murmure excepti, pleris- 
que suorum ignaris quae causa salutandi, metum proditionis 
fecere. Turn incubuit hostium acies, integris ordinibus, 3 
robore et numero praestantior : Othoniani, quanquam dispersi, 
pauciores, fessi, praelium tamen acriter sumpsere. Et per 4 
locos arboribus ac vineis inpeditos non una pugnae facies : 
comminus eminus, catervis et cuneis concurrebant. In aggere 
viae conlato gradu corporibus et umbonibus niti, omisso 
pilorum jactu, gladiis et securibus galeas loricasque perrum- 
pere : noscentes inter se, ceteris conspicui, in eventum totius 

43 belli certabant. Forte inter Padum viamque, paten ti campo, 

drains from being swampy, was not 4 per locos . . . inpeditos] He 
fit for them. In consequence, they describes the character of the en- 
could not be got out of the way counter all along the line, from 
when the men spread out into line, north to south, 
besides that the latter had to bridge catervis et cuneis] The Germans 
or jump the ditches. in the former, the legionaries in the 

incertus undique clamor] In- latter. The two formations do not 

stead of the cheers of men going differ very widely — each is a column 

into action. charging with the broadsword ; but 

7 vel . . . ve . . . aut] Varied the cuneus is apparently the deeper, 

for variety's sake ; the three pairs and certainly the closer, and charac- 

manifestly correspond to each other. teristic of disciplined troops as the 

Ch. XLII. 1 in languorem] Their other is of barbarians, 

first feeling was * We are surprised,' in eventum totius "belli] * They 

their second, 'It's all right, they were fighting to decide the whole 

will not fight us,' their third, 'There issue of the war' (C. and B.) — 

is no knowing what is coming : we rather describing their feelings than 

can't help it.' the actual result. The Vitellians 

2 Omisso] ' Letting the oppor- apparently won, 44. 1, but if the 
tunity pass for* . . . , just like omisso Othonians had, we cannot say that 
pilorum jactti in § 4. this would have compensated for 

3 dispersi] Opposed to integris their flank being turned. 
ordinibus, pauciores to numero t and Ch. XLIII. 1 Forte . . . campo] 
fessi to robore. See on 41. 6. . Had the ground 




duae legiones congressae sunt, pro Vitellio unetvicesima, cui 
cognomen Rapaci, vetere gloria insignis ; e parte Othonis 
prima Adjutrix, non ante in aciem deducta, sed ferox et novi 
decoris avida. Primani, stratis unetvicesimanorum principiis, 2 
aquilam abstulere ; quo dolore accensa legio et inpulit rursus 
primanos, interfecto Orfidio Benigno legato, et plurima signa 
vexillaque ex hostibus rapuit. A parte alia propulsa quinta- 3 
norum impetu tertia decima legio ; circumventi plurium 
adcursu quartadecimani. Et ducibus Othonis jam pridem 
profugis, Caecina ac Valens subsidiis suos firmabant. Accessit 4 
recens auxilium, Varus Alfenius cum Batavis, fusa gladiatorum 
manu, quam navibus transvectam obpositae cohortes in ipso 
flumine trucidaverant. Ita victores latus hostium invecti. 
44 Et media acie perrupta fugere passim Othoniani, Bedriacum 

been cleared by an inundation (like 
that of Virg. Georg. i. 481-3) or left 
bare for fear of one, or was it even 
then below the level of the em- 
banked river, and so too damp for 
vines ? 

vetere gloria] They had served 
through Germanicus' campaigns, 
and apparently had been on the 
German frontier ever since. No 
doubt they had also taken part in 
the defeat of Vindex. 

non ante . . . deducta] They 
were the legion enrolled from the 
fleet — the dassica of i. 31. 4, 7 ; see 
ii. 11. 4, where they start from 

2 principiis] What would in the 
old republican army have been 
called the hastati and principes — the 
antepilani of Liv. viii. 8. Though 
Marius had abolished the distinc- 
tion of arms and seniority between 
the three divisions of the legion, 
there remained not only the tradition 
of fighting in three lines, but the 
names of the bodies, as giving 
title to their respective centurions. 
Hence we find the eagle kept in its 

old place — behind all except what 
used to be the reserve ; but each 
ordo had a signum of its own ; cf. 
iii. 22. 5. 

3 quintanorum] Vitellian, i. 55. 
2, etc. 

quartadecimani] The most dis- 
tinguished engaged on Otho's side, 
11. 2. ; but it was only their vexil- 
larii who had yet come up (ib. and 
66. 1. ) The First and they are, in 
iii. 13. 5, reckoned as unicum 
Othoniani exercitus robur, so we are 
probably to understand that they 
were successful until surrounded 
and hopelessly outnumbered. 

firmabant] The force of the tense 
is ' were on the spot, doing general's 

4 navibus transvectum] They 
saw the battle begun, and probably 
the men at work on the bridge 
drawn off; but the Batavians (who 
were doubtless included among the 
Germani of c. 35) had been left to 
watch them, and were set at liberty 
by their rash advance. 

Ch. XLIV. 1 media acie] On 
the road, and a little north of it. 


petentes. Inmensum id spatium ; obstructae si rage corporum 
viae. Quo plus caedis fuit : neque enim civilibus bellis capti 
in praedam vertuntur. Suetonius Paulinus et Licinius Proculus 2 
diversis itineribus castra vitavere. Vedium Aquilam, tertiae 
decimae legionis legatum, irae militum inconsultus pavor 
obtulit. Multo adhuc die vallum ingressus clamore seditioso- 
rum et fugacium circumstrepitur ; non probris, non manibus 
abstinent ; desertorem proditoremque increpant, nullo proprio 
crimine ejus, sed more volgi suum quisque flagitium aliis 
objectantes. Titianum et Celsum nox juvit, dispositis jam 3 
excubiis conpressisque militibus, quos Annius Gallus consilio, 
precibus, auctoritate flexerat, ne super cladem adversae pugnae 
suismet ipsi caedibus saevirent: sive finis bello venisset seu 
resumere arma mallent, unicum victis in consensu levamentum. 
Ceteris fractus animus : praetorianus miles non virtute se sed 4 
proditione victum fremebat. Ne Vitellianis quidem incruen- 
tam fuisse victoriam, pulso equite, rapta legionis aquila ; 
superesse cum ipso Othone militum quod trans Padum fuerit ; 
venire Moesicas legiones ; magnam exercitus partem Bedriaci 
remansisse : hos certe nondum victos, et si ita ferret, honestius 
in acie perituros. His cogitationibus truces aut pavidi, 5 

Inmensum id spatium] Sixteen valour, fled anywhere but to the 

miles, according to Tacitus' reckon- camp. 

ing. Dio gives the number of the flagitium] According to Plutarch, 

men killed in all the actions at the Praetorians (whom Tacitus has 

40,000 efcaTtpadev, which one must not mentioned at all) behaved really 

force to mean ' on both sides ' if it badly ; cf. iii. 24. 3. 

is to be credible, as Valens and 3 Gallus] He had stayed at Bed- 

Caecina had only 70,000 before ricum since his accident. He was 

they crossed the Alps, and Otho the only general clearly free from 

less. responsibility for the defeat. 

2 Vedium Aquilam] He retained 4 praetorianus miles, etc.] Of 

not only his life, but his command, course not inconsistent with Plu- 

iii. 7. 1. tarch's statement — indeed, perhaps, 

inconsultus payor] Made him, accounted for by it. They had not 

like the common soldiers, fly to the been beaten, but ran away without 

camp at once, ' while it was still knowing why, and thought it must 

full daylight. ' The two generals, be somebody's fault, 

with more discretion if not more superesse . . . fuerit] Tacitus 


extrema desperatione ad iram saepius quam in formidinera 

45 At Vitellianus exercitus ad quintum a Bedriaco lapidem 
consedit, non ausis ducibus eadem die obpugnationem castro 
rum ; simul voluntaria deditio sperabatur. Sed expeditis, et 2 
tantum ad praelium egressis, mimimentum fuere arma et 
victoria. Postera die, haud ambigua Othoniani exercitus 3 
voluntate, et qui ferociores fuerant ad paenitentiam inclinanti- 
bus, missa legatio ; nee apud duces Vitellianos dubitatum quo 
minus pacem concederent. Legati paulisper retenti. Ea res + 
haesitationem attulit ignaris adhuc an impetrassent. Mox 
reraissa legatione patuit vallum. Turn victi victoresque in 
lacrimas effusi, sortem civilium armorum misera laetitia detes- 
tantes. Isdem tentoriis alii fratrum, alii propinquorum volnera 5 
fovebant. Spes et praemia in ambiguo, certa fun era et luctus, 
nee quisquam adeo mali expers, ut non aliquam mortem 
maereret. Requisitum Orfidii legati corpus honore solito 6 
crematur ; paucos necessarii ipsorum sepelivere ; ceterum 
volgus super humum relictum. 

46 Opperiebatur Otho nuntium pugnae nequaquam trepidus, 
et consilii certus. Maesta primum fama, dein profugi e praelio 
perditas res patefaciunt Non exspectavit militum ardor 2 
vocem imperatoris. Bonum haberet animum jubebant : super- 
calls them a valida manus, 33. 5. * the Othonians had thrown theirs 

Ch. XLV. 1 ad quintum, etc.] away.' 

They took a shorter day's march 3 Postera die] After Otho's 

after the battle than the Othonians death was known, or because he 

had before it. But the fact that had neglected to rally them ? Plu- 

there was time for two such marches tarch's account is somewhat differ- 

proves that the fighting cannot ent: he says that Caecina rode up 

have lasted very long. to the camp with friendly gestures, 

2 Sed] The thought is, ' But which produced an immediate sur- 

instead of surrendering, the Otho- render. 

nians might, if they could, have 4 misera] Explained by the 

surprised them ; ' then he adds, next two sentences. 

' They trusted to what proved a 6 ceterum . . . relictum] See 

sufficient security against it. ' c. 70. 

arma may be meant to suggest, Ch. XLVI. i consilii certus] 


esse adbuc novas vires, et ipsos extrema passuros ausurosque. 
Neque erat adulatio : ire in aciem, excitare partium fortunam 3 
furore quodarn et instinctu flagrabant Qui procul adstiterant, 
tendere manus, et proximi prensare genua, promptissimo Plotio 
Firmo. Is praetorii praefectus identidem orabat ne fidissimum 4 
exercitum, ne optime meritos milites desereret : majore animo 
tolerari adversa quam relinqui ; fortes et strenuos etiam contra 
fortunam insistere spei, timidos et ignavos ad desperationem 
formidine properare. Quas inter voces ut flexerat voltum 5 
aut induraverat Otho, clamor et gemitus. Nee praetoriani 6 
tantum, proprius Othonis miles, sed praemissi e Moesia 
eandem obstinationem adventantis exercitus, legiones Aqui- 
leiam ingressas nuntiabant ; ut nemo dubitet potuisse renovari 
47 bellum atrox, lugubre, incertum victis et victoribus. Ipse 
. aversus a consiliis belli, ' Hunc/ inquit, ' animum, hanc 
virtutem vestram ultra periculis obicere nimis grande vitae 
meae pretium puto. Quanto plus spei ostenditis, si vivere 
placeret, tan to pulchrior mors erit. Experti in vicem sumus 2 
ego ac fortuna. Nee tempus conputaveritis : difficilius est 
temperare felicitati, qua te non putes diu usurum. Civile 3 
bellum a Vitellio coepit, et ut de principatu certaremus armis, 

' Resolved what to do ' in case i. 23 sqq. ; the whole passage, espe- 

either of victory or defeat. dally legionum quoque (26. 1), 

2 novas vires] The legions from implies without clearly stating that 
Moesia, — as it is opposed to ipsos, Otho's popularity began with the 

3 furore quodam et instinctu] praetorians and spread to the rest. 
A good instance of what is most Ch. XLVII. 2 Experti . . . for- 
legitimately called Iv 8lol dvo7v — two tuna] * Fortune and I now know 
nearly synonymous words, placed each other,' C. and B. ; he has felt 
as co-ordinate, and mutually illus- her best and worst, and she has dis- 
trative. This artifice is less frequent played the best (and worst, 50. 2) 
in Tacitus than Cicero, who often uses features of his character. 

it to supplement the poverty of the Nee tempus, etc.] The sense is, 

Latin language in abstract terms. ' I have known the best gift of for- 

3, 4 Plotio . . . praefectus] tune in being an emperor ; do not 

i. 46. 1, colleague of Proculus, who say that it is no glory to oe an 

precipitated the battle, ib. 2. emperor for three months, for to 

5 clamor] 'Applause,' ut flexerat have been a good emperor for three 
voltum. * months is all the greater glory, be- 

6 proprius Othonis miles] See ing the rarer.' 


initium illic fuit : ne plus quam semel certemus, penes me 
exemplum erit. Hinc Othonem posteritas aestimet. Fruetur 4 
Vitellius fratre, conjuge, liberis : mihi non ultione neque 
solatiis opus est. Alii diutius imperium tenuerint : nemo tarn 
fortiter reliquerit. An ego tantum Roman ae pubis, tot egregios 
exercitus sterni rursus et rei publicae eripi patiar? Eat hie 5 
mecum animus, tanquam perituri pro me fueritis. Sed este 
superstites. Nee diu moremur, ego incolumitatem vestram, 
vos constantiam meam. Plura de extremis loqui pars ignaviae 6 
est. Praecipuum destinationis meae documentum habete, 
quod de nemine queror : nam incusare deos vel homines, ejus 
48 est qui vivere velit.' Talia locutus, ut cuique aetas aut 
dignitas, comiter appellatos, irent propere neu remanendo 
iram victoris asperarent, juvenes auctoritate, senes precibus 
movebat, placidus ore, intrepidus verbis, intempestivas suorum 
lacrimas coercens. Dari naves ac vehicula abeuntibus jubet ; 2 
libellos epistolasque studio erga se aut in Vitellium contumeliis 
insignes abolet; pecunias distribuit, parce, nee ut periturus. 

4 fratre, conjuge, liberis] He toiovtuv irokir&v ; as he also says, 

does not mention his mother, who irap 1 i)fuv koX t£kvol t&v iroXefxiiov /ecu 

was also at Rome, i. 75. 3, 4. yvPaiKes, perhaps the two historians 

non ultione neque solatiis] Some- had some materials which each 

times taken as almost a hendiadys, worked into his fancy composition. 
'The consolations of revenge;' per- 5 Eat hie, etc.] 'Let me die 

haps rather a transition to the next with the same feeling as if you were 

sentence, ' I have no need of going ' (not ' in the belief that you 

revenge on my enemy, nor conso- are willing') ' to die for me ; but 

lation for my short reign — the do not die with me. ' 
character of its end is consolation Nee . . . meam] 'And now let 

enough.' me no longer hinder you from being 

Romanae pubis] See i. 84 sq., safe' (as you will when I am dead 

and note. In these words he treats and Vitellius has no rival), ' while 

them {pitbes being a more poetical you no longer delay my resolution,' 

equivalent for juventus) as a civic by your entreaties, from being 

force, able to appreciate patriotism ; carried out in act. 
then exercitus appeals to their pro- 6 de nemine <iueror] ' I ascribe 

fessional military pride and sense the defeat neither to cowardice nor 

of their value to the whole empire. treachery, and do not complain of 

Plutarch's version of Otho's speech fortune.' It is the second supposition 

is quite different ; but this senti- that he is most anxious to exclude, 
ment is represented by his phrase, Ch. XLVIII. 2 naves] For 

Kcihws airoQavelv virep roorovruv Kai crossing the Po. 


Mbx Salvium Cocceiarmm fratris filium, prima juventa, trepidum 3 
et maerentem ultro solatus est, laudando pietatem ejus, casti- 
gando formidinem : an Vitellium tam inmitis animi fore, ut pro 
incolumi tota domo ne hanc quidem sibi gratiam redderet ? 
Mereri se festinato exitu clementiam victoris. Non enim 4 
ultima desperatione, sed poscente praelium exercitu, remisisse 
rei publicae novissimum casum. Satis sibi nominis, satis 
posteris suis nobilitatis quaesitum. Post Julios, Claudios, 5 
Servios, se primum in familiam novam imperium intulisse. 
Proinde erecto animo capesseret vitam, neu patruum sibi 
Othonem fuisse aut oblivisceretur unquam aut nimium memi- 
4 9 nisset. Post quae, dimotis omnibus, paulum requievit. Atque 
ilium, supremas jam curas animo volutantem, repens tumultus 
avertit, nuntiata consternatione ac licentia militum. Namque 
abeuntibus exitium minitabantur, atrocissima in Verginium vi, 
quern clausa domo obsidebant. Increpitis seditionis auctori- 2 
bus, regressus vacavit abeuntium adloquiis, donee omnes 
inviolati digrederentur. Vesperascente die, sitim haustu 

3 Coeceianus] Plutarch calls 5 Servios] The common prae- 
him Cocceius, which gives some nomen of the Patrician Sulpicii, as 
presumption that he owed the name Appius was of the Claudii ; it is 
to adoption, not simply to inter- almost treated as a gentile name, 
marriage. The gens Cocceia was not just as we get the Appia via by the 
very large, and had not been long side of the EZaminia, Egnatia, etc. ; 
eminent, hence it is perhaps likely e.g. Hor. Ep. i. 18, 20, Minuet via 
that the emperor Nerva had some . . . an Appu 

traceable relationship to the family novam] Galba had, it should be 

of Otho ; this gives more point to remembered, a certain connexion 

§ 5. Coeceianus himself was put with the Caesarian family, having 

to death by Domitian for keeping been adopted by his stepmother 

his uncle's birthday. Livia, a relation of the first Augusta. 

pro incolumi, etc. 1 He had been Far-fetched as this was, it seems to 

included in Vitellius threats of re- have counted for something with 

prisals, i. 75. 3. the soldiers, at the time of his 

4 remisisse rei publicae] * Had proclamation. 

sacrificed to the public good his capesseret vitam] Almost an 

last chance. ' unique expression in classical Latin 

nobilitatis] In the technical for what we call ' entering on life J 
Republican sense, transferred to XLIX. 1 Verginium] See 51. 1, 

the Empire as by Livy (i. 34. 7) to 68. 6, for the feeling of the army 

the primitive monarchy. towards him. He outlived all such 



gelidae aquae sedavit. Turn adlatis pugionibus, cum utrumque 3 
pertentasset, alterum capiti subdidit. Et explorato jam pro- 
fectos amicos, noctem quietam, utque adfirmatur, non insom- 
nem egit. Luce prima in ferrum pectore incubuit. Ad 4 
gemitum morientis ingressi liberti servique, et Plotius Firmus 
praetorii praefectus unum volnus invenere. Funus maturatum. 
Ambitiosis id precibus petierat, ne amputaretur caput ludibrio 
futurum. Tulere corpus praetoriae cohortes, cum laudibus et 5 
lacrimis, volnus manusque ejus exosculantes. Quidam militum 6 
juxta rogum interfecere se, non noxa neque ob metum, sed 
aemulatione decoris et caritate principis. Ac postea promisee 7 
Bedriaci, Placentiae, aliisque in castris, celebratum id genus 
mortis. Othoni sepulcrum exstructum est modicum et mansu- 8 
rum. Hunc vitae fmem habuit septimo et tricesimo aetatis 
50 anno. Origo illi e municipio Ferentio, pater consularis, avus 

dangers and temptations, *o die at 
eighty-two of a fall in his study. 

2 gelidae rather marks, ac- 
cording to Roman notions, his in- 
difference to luxury, than his desire 
for even the simplest and common- 

3 incubuit] He therefore did 
not quite justify Goethe's eulogy, 
who contrasts his deliberately stab- 
bing himself with the common 
practice of falling on the sword. 
See the curious discussion of the 
casuistry or rather the etiquette of 
suicide, Wahrheit und Dichtung, 
Book xiii, p. 184. The unum vol- 
nus of the next sentence, however, 
is no doubt to call attention to his 
self-command in directing the wea- 
pon ; so Martial (vi. 32. 4), ' Fodit 
certa pectora nuda maim? contrast 
Plautius Silvanus, Ann. iv. 22. 4, 
and Messallina, Ann. xi. 38. I. 

4 Amoitiosis] Perhaps implies 
a certain condescension as well as 
earnestness in asking ; so Cicero, 
ad Fam. iii. 7. 4, * ambitiosius . . . 
qitam dignitas mea postulate while 

id. ib. xiii. I. 5 couples it with in 
rogando mokstus, 

6 non noxa] Some take 'not 
from a guilty conscience/ as though 
they were ashamed of their past 
treatment of Otho, others as illus- 
trated by ok metum, 'not from 
offence given (to Vitellius) or fear 
of him.' The parallel passage in 
Plutarch {pvhkv l/c5^\ws otire ireirov- 
06t€s xP 7 )°" r ° l/ ^ 7r ^ r °£ TedvTjKbros) 
would tempt one to take the sense 
of the subst. as illustrated by that 
of the adj. obnoxius, ' not that they 
were under any obligation i to 

8 modicum et mansurum] With 
no inscription beyond his name. 
Suetonius says that Vitellius visited 
the place, and said, ' He deserved 
such a tomb.' 

Hunc vitae finem] See on i. 49. 3. 

septimo et tricesimo] Strictly 
accurate ; but he was within a few 
days of completing it. 

Ch. L. 1 Ferentio] So M., and 
there seems no doubt that the 
Etruscan town that the Salvii came 


praetorius ; maternum genus inpar, nee tameil indecorum. 
Pueritia ac juventa, qualem monstravimus. Duobus facinori- 2 
bus, altero rlagitiosissimo, altero egregio, tantundem apud 
posteros meruit bonae famae quantum malae. Ut conquirere 3 
fabulosa et fictis oblectare legentium animos procul gravitate 
coepti operis crediderim, ita volgatis traditisque demere fidem 
non ausim. Die quo Bedriaci certabatur, avem invisitata 4 
specie apud Regium Lepidum celebri luco consedisse incolae 
memorant, nee deinde coetu hominum aut circumvolitantium 
alitum territam pulsamve, donee Otho se ipse interficeret; 
turn ablatam ex oculis ; et tempora reputantibus initium finem- 
que miraculi cum Othonis exitu competisse. 
5 I In funere ejus novata luctu ac dolore militum seditio : nee 
erat qui coerceret. Ad Verginium versi, modo ut reciperet 
imperium, nunc ut legatione apud Caecinam ac Valentem 
fungeretur, minitantes orabant. Verginius, per aversam domus 2 
partem furtim degressus, inrumpentes frustratus est. Earum 3 
quae Brixelli egerant cohortium preces Rubrius Gallus tulit, 
et venia statim impetrata, concedentibus ad victorem per 
Flavium Sabiuum iis copiis quibus praefuerat. 

from was properly called Ferentium ment much the same as that of 

or Ferentia, while Ferentinum is the Tacitus. Juvenal, on the contrary, 

name of the Hernican town well treats him as rake and fop to the last, 

known to readers of Livy. 3] For the form of statement com- 

pater consularis] He was consul pare Liv. ix. 17. 1; though the 

suffectus in A. D. 33. sentiment is more like that of id. 

maternum genus] His mother, Praef. 5. 

Albia Terentia, is called by Suet. celebri] Much frequented by 

splendida femina — i.e. of an eques- worshippers, 

trian family. tempora reputantibus] One 

2 qualem monstravimus] i. 13. 7. must remember they had no clocks 

Duobus . . . egregio] Of course to keep ' mean Roman time ; ' so 

the murder of Galba and of himself. that there was no check on exaggera- 

The sentence is a good illustration tion of the closeness of the coinci- 

of what f acinus means — a single act, dence. For the construction of the 

of marked character and decisive partic. cf. iii. 8. 2 ; iv. 17. 5. 

importance, whether for good or Ch. LI. i nee . . . coerceret] 

evil. As Otho had done while alive, 49. 

tantundem, etc.] See Martial's 1, 2. 

epigram already quoted, for a senti- 3 Flavium Sabinum] 36. 4. 



5 2 Posito ubique bello, magna pars senatus extremum discrimen 
adiit, profecta cum Othone ab urbe, dein Mutinae relicta. 
Illuc adverso de praelio adlatum. Sed milites, ut falsum, 2 
rumorem aspernantes, quod infensum Othoni senatum arbitra- 
bantur, custodire sermones, voltum habitumque trahere in 
deterius ; conviciis postremo ac probris causam et initium 
caedis quaerebant, cum alius insuper metus senatoribus 
instaret, ne, praevalidis jam Vitellii partibus, cunctanter exce- 
pisse victoriam crederentur. Ita trepidi, et utrinque anxii, 3 
coeunt, nemo privatim expedito consilio, inter multos societate 
culpae tutior. Onerabat paventium curas ordo Mutinensis 
arma et pecuniam offerendo, appellabatque patres conscriptos 

53 intempestivo honore. Notabile jurgium fait, quo Licinius 
Caecina Marcellum Eprium ut ambigua disserentem invasit. 
Nee ceteri sententias aperiebant : sed invisum memoria delatio- 
num, expositumque ad invidiam, Marcelli nomen inritaverat 

Ch. LIT. 1 magna pars senatus] 
i. 88. 2, 3. 

2 quod . . . ar Ditraoantur] Com- 
pare i. 82. 2. We may perhaps 
see in the respective policies of 
Vitellius and Otho, the first symp- 
toms of what became afterwards the 
main problem of Roman history — 
whether the emperor should be ap- 
pointed by and rest on the Senate 
or the army — especially the Prae- 
torians. But, by a curious irony, 
Vitellius was thrown into a false 
position, and had to rest (i. 74. 6) 
on the fact of his earlier proclama- 
tion by a mutinous army, while 
Otho (i. 84. 6-10) claimed to be 
the lawfully recognised head of the 
state, and champion of the city and 

3 tutior agrees with quisque, to 
be supplied from nemo. So Hor. 
Sat. i. 1. 1-3. 

ordo] A commoner term than 
senatus for the corporation of a 
municipal town ; the individual 

members were decuriones. 

intempestivo honore] Because it 
threw on them the responsibility of 
deciding who was the real princeps. 
It was also a constitutional solecism : 
there was enough of a senate to 
meet at Rome (55. 3), and no 
meeting of senators elsewhere could 
assume the title; even the Pom- 
peians, though a fair majority, had 
shrunk from it, and Livy (v. 46) 
is careful to make the appointment 
of Camillus as dictator, in the 
Gallic siege, quite regular in this 

Ch. LI 1 1. I quo] Jurgioinvadere 
would be a quite legitimate con- 

Marcellum Eprium] Ann. xvL 
22. 10, 28, etc., inf. iv. 6. 4 

Nee ceteri, etc.] Everybody else 
ambigua disseruit equally with Mar- 
cellus; but Caecina thought it 
worth while to attack him, however 
unreasonable the present plea. 


Caecinam, ut novus adhuc, et in senatum nuper adscitus, 
magnis inimicitiis claresceret. Moderatione meliorum dirempti. 
Et rediere omnes Bononiam, rursus consiliaturi ; simul medio 2 
temporis plures nuntii sperabantur. Bononiae, divisis per 3 
itinera qui recentissimum quemque percunctarentur, interroga- 
tus Othonis libertus causam digressus, habere se suprema ejus 
mandata respondit ; ipsum viventem quidem relictum, sed 
sola posteritatis cura et abruptis vitae blandimentis. Hinc + 
admiratio et plura interrogandi pudor; atque omnium animi 
5 4 in Vitellium inclinavere. Intererat consiliis frater ejus L. 
Vitellius, seque jam adulantibus offerebat, cum repente Coenus, 
libertus Neronis, atroci mendacio universos perculit, adfirmans 
superventu quartae decimae legionis, junctis a Brixello viribus, 
caesos victores, versam partium fortunam. Causa fingendi 2 
fuit, ut diplomata Othonis, quae neglegebantur, laetiore nuntio 
revalescerent. Et Coenus quidem rapide in urbem vectus 
paucos post dies jussu Vitellii poenas luit. Senatorum pericu- 3 
lum auctum, credentibus Othonianis militibus vera esse quae 
adferebantur. Intendebat formidinem, quod publici consilii 

novus] From adhuc being used sola posteritatis cura] Illustrated 

it is perhaps likely that the preceding by the next words, so that one may 

word is explained by in senatum paraphrase, * thinking of no pleasure 

nuper adscitus, rather than standing but that of fame/ 

for novus homo in the republican 4 atque suggests, as often, an 

sense. We know nothing else of immediate transition : so iii. 17. 3. 

this Caecina : the Caecinae were a Here perhaps there is a little sarcasm 

large Tuscan gens (said still to exist), — they regarded Otho with silent 

and we cannot be certain that, even respect, and abandoned all fear or 

if he belonged to it and did not get allegiance for him. 

the cognomen accidentally, he was in Ch. LI V. 1 L. VitelliusJ i. 8$. 

any practical sense related to the 2. 

Vitellian general : the latter how- jam goes with adulantibus rather 

ever is called Licinius in the Fasti. than offerebat, though no doubt it 

2 rediere implies that it had been marks a change in his behaviour as 
their last stage on their way from well as theirs. 

Rome. 2 diplomata] A testimonial secur- 

3 divisis, if a dative, would mean ing his rights to impress horses, 
that the senators themselves took etc., for his journey. Hence rapide 
up their stations ; more probably an vectus is sarcastic ; he got his object 
ablative, * when they had posted of a quick conveyance to Rome, but 
men to ask.' had little cause to rejoice at it. 



facie discessum Mutina, desertaeque partes forent Nee ultra 4 
in commune congressi sibi quisque consuluere, donee missae 
a Fabio Valente epistolae demerent metum. Et mors Othonis 
quo laudabilior, eo velocius audita. 
55 At Romae nihil trepidationis ; Ceriales ludi ex more specta- 
bantur. Ut cessisse Othonem, et a Flayio Sabino praefecto 2 
urbis, quod erat in urbe militum, Sacramento Vitellii adactum, 
certi auctores in theatrum adtuleruni, Vitellio plausere ; 
populus cum lauru ac floribus Galbae imagines circum templa 
tulit, congestis in modum tumuli coronis juxta lacum Curtii, 
quern locum Galba moriens sanguine infecerat. In senatu 3 
cuncta longis aliorum principatibus composita statim decer- 
nuntur. Additae erga Germanicum exercitum laudes grates- 
que, et missa legatio quae gaudio fungeretur. Recitatae Fabii 4 
Valentis epistolae ad consules scriptae haud immoderate : 

3 facie] * Under the form, ' — it was 
not simply that so many eminent 
individuals had thought Bononia a 
safer place than Mutina, but that 
they had formally resolved to set 
aside Otho's directions, and treat 
his reign as ended — hence deseriae 

Ch. LV. 1 Ceriales ludi] Occu- 
pied apparently from the twelfth to 
the fifteenth of April. But Ovid 
(Fast. iv. 309 sqq.) seems to place 
them on the seventh, while the news 
of Otho's death is said to have 
arrived on the nineteenth. If so, 
from the mention of the theatre, 
the games must have been carried 
on a little beyond the strict time. 

2 cessisse] 'Retired from the 
scene ;' the simple verb is especially 
appropriate to a voluntary death, 
though cessisse vita might have been 
used of a natural one. So Tacitus 
uses concedere more than once, Ann. 
iv. 38. 3, xiii. 30. 4. 

Flavio Sabino praefecto urbis] 
See on 36. 4. 

Galbae imagines] See on 31. 2 : 

compare also i. 44. 3, which seems 
to show, not only that men forgot 
the date of Vitellius's revolt, but 
that he had the sense to utilise the 
fact. Perhaps we are to infer that 
Galba had some real popularity 
with the unarmed citizens ; did they 
respect a Roman noble of the old 
school, while their brothers who 
had enlisted in the praetorians 
resented the rigour of his discip- 

3 composita implies insincerity, 
as well as accumulation : so 

gaudio fungeretur] 'Do the 
business of congratulation ;' it was a 
matter of routine, and by implica- 
tion insincere. 

4] So in iv. 4. 1 we are told that 
Mucianus was censured for writing 
to the senate under similar circum- 
stances. That passage indicates 
what was the rule of etiquette 
broken by Valens ; he was neither 
emperor, nor even a commander-in- 
chief of the republican pattern, and 


56 gratior Caecinae modestia fuit, quod non scripsisset. Ceterum 
Italia gravius atque atrocius quam bello adflictabatur. Dispersi 
per municipia et colonias Vitelliani spoliare, rapere, vi et 
stupris polluere. In orane fas nefasque avidi aut venales non 
sacro, non profano abstinebant. Et fuere qui inimicos suos 2 
specie militum interficevent. Ipsique milites, regionum gnari, 
refertos agros, dites dominos in praedam aut, si repugnatum 
foret, ad excidium destinabant, obnoxiis ducibus et prohibere 
non ausis. Minus avaritiae in Caecina, plus ambitionis : 3 
Valens ob lucra et quaestus infamis, eoque alienae etiam 
culpae dissimulator. Jam pridem adtritis Italiae rebus, tantum 4 
peditum equitumque, vis damnaque et injuriae aegre tolera- 

57 Interim Vitellius, victoriae suae nescius, ut ad integrum 
bellum reliquas Germanici exercitus vires trahebat. Pauci 
veterum militum in hibernis relicti, festinatis per Gallias 
delectibus, ut remanentium legionum nomina supplerentur. 
Cura ripae Hordeonio Flacco permissa ; ipse e Britannico 2 
delectu octo milia sibi adjunxit. Et paucorum dierum iter 
progressus, prosperas apud Bedriacum res, ac morte Othonis 

so had no official business to report the horses' keep aggravated it), be- 
to them. sides the further grievance that they 

Ch. LVI. 2 specie militum] behaved so badly. 
'Disguising themselves as soldiers/ Ch. LVII. i trahebat implies a 

not ' pretending that their enemies slow movement, as intimated by 1. 

had been soldiers of Otho's,' as the 61, fin. 

latter had ceased to be treated as nomina] Virtually 'skeletons,' 

enemies, iv. 2. 3 is quite different, ' cadres ; ' it is illustrated by inania 

as in fact is stated in § 4. legionum nomina in iv. 14, 5. though 

3 plus ambitionis] So that he not exactly equivalent to it. 

was especially obnoxius ; he did 2 delectu] Or. wishes to translate 
not plunder himself, but winked at 'Mite;' we have certainly heard 
those who did, to please them, as nothing of a delectus, there in the 
much as Valens, for fear of their ordinary sense. But it is quite con- 
turning on him. ceivable that Tacitus thinks this 

4 tantum peditum ectuitumque] sentence enough to give us to under- 
Not merely in apposition to the stand that one was held in Britain 
words that follow : it was a burden simultaneously with that in Gaul, 
to have so large an army quartered Vitellius had veterans from Britain 
on the country (equilum, because with him, iii. 22. 2 ; but no instance 


concidisse bellum, accepit. Vocata contione virtutem militum 3 
laudibus cumulat. Postulante exercitu ut libertum suum 
Asiaticum equestri dignitate donaret, inhonestam adulationem 
conpeseit. Dein mobilitate ingenii, quod palam abnuerat, 4 
inter secreta convivii largitur, honoravitque Asiaticum anulis, 
foedum mancipium et malis artibus ambitiosum. 
58 Isdem diebus accessisse partibus utramque Mauretaniam, 
interfecto procuratore Albino, nuntii venere. Lucceius Albinus, 
a Nerone Mauretaniae Caesariensi praepositus, addita per 
Galbam Tingitanae provinciae administratione, haud spernendis 
viribus agebat. Decern novem cohortes, quinque alae, ingens 2 
Maurorum numerus aderat, per latrocinia et raptus apta bello 
manus. Caeso Galba, in Othonem prouus, nee Africa con- 3 
tentus, Hispaniae, angusto freto diremptae, imminebat. Inde 4 
Cluvio Rufo metus ; et decimam legionem propinquare litori 
ut transmissurus jussit. Praemissi centuriones qui Maurorum 
animos Vitellio conciliarent. Neque arduum fuit, magna per 5 
provincias Germanici exercitus. fama. Spargebatur insuper, 
spreto procuratoris vocabulo, i\lbinum insigne regis et Jubae 

is quoted of Orelli's meaning of the Ch. LVIII. i partibus] Vitellius 

word, and it is unlikely that the is still conceived as an adventurer 

same term should have two technical or at most a usurper ; compare note 

military senses. on i. 13. 10. 

3 Postulante exercitu] Or. quotes 2 Decern novem] So M. writes 
inscriptions of Trajan's time referring at length, no doubt because Tacitus 
to grants of this dignity to soldiers : so wrote. The form is much less 
compare the joke in Caesar, B. G. common than undeviginti, noven- 
i. 42. Probably Asiaticus had done decim still less so. 
aide-de-camp's or secretary's work 3 Hispaniae . . . imminebat] 
(compare i. 87. 2, iii. 12 fin.), and Spain had declared for Vitellius, i. 
it was regarded (not necessarily 76. 2. 

hypocritically) as having contributed 5 insigne regis] The Moors had 

to the victory, retained their nominal independence 

4 honoravit] M. has oneravit, till A. D. 40. The first Juba, a bar- 
probably either the error or perverse barian Otho, was a man to com- 
wit of a scribe. It is not like Tacitus mand popularity, and the second, 
to say that he was crushed by his who was eminent as a historian, 
new dignity ; moreover, oneravit may have commanded respect. Ro- 
would infallibly suggest honoravit, manized as the latter was, it is not 
and so be little better than a pun. likely that Albinus was related to 



59 nomen usurpare. Ita mutatis animis, Asinius Pollio, alae 
praefectus, e fidissimis Albino, et Festus ac Scipio, cohortium 
praefecti, opprimuntur. Ipse Albinus, dum e Tingitana pro- 2 
vincia Caesariensem Mauretaniam petit, adpulsu litoris truci- 
datus ; uxor ejus, cum se percussoribus obtulisset, simul inter- 
fecta est, nihil eorum quae fierent Vitellio anquirente. Brevi 
auditu quamvis magna transibat, inpar curis gravioribus. 

Exercitum itinere terrestri pergere jubet : ipse Arare flumine 3 
devehitur, nullo principali paratu, sed vetere egestate con- 
spicuus, donee Junius Blaesus, Lugdunensis Galliae rector, 
genere illustri, largus animo et par opibus, circumdaret principi 
ministeria, comitaretur liberaliter, eo ipso ingratus, quamvis 
odium Vitellius vernilibus blanditiis velaret. Praesto fuere 4 
Lugduni victricium victarumque partium duces. Valentem et 
Caecinam, pro concione laudatos, curuli suae circumposuit 
Mox universum exercitum occurrere infanti filio jubet ; perlat- 5 

the dynasty ; but true or false, the 
story of his design has some sig- 
nificance of the course the dissolu- 
tion of the empire would take. 

Ch. LIX. 1 Scipio] He pro- 
bably was a real Scipio — perhaps a 
son of the legatus of Ann. iii. 74. 2 ; 
the family had a natural inclination 
for African service. 

2 adpulsu litoris] So M. for the 
vulgate appulsus litori ; the simple 
ablative without either in or ipso is 

eorum quae fierent] Tacitus 
had never asked himself whether 
quae was a relative or interrogative 
pronoun : like the first, it has an 
antecedent, but the subjunctive is 
really to be accounted for as an 
indirect question. 

transibat] M. has -bant, which 
would oblige one to punctuate, 
' everything, however great, passed 
over him with a cursory hearing ; 
unequal to serious cares, he ordered/ 
etc. This would give a hard sense 

to transibat; (Stat. Theb, ii. 335, 
nil transit amanles, is the nearest 
parallel), but a more serious ob- 
jection is, that it makes Vitellius 
attend to his army, because he could 
not attend to anything important. 

3 vetere egestate] When ap- 
pointed to the German command, 
he had to let his house, and put 
his family in lodgings, and (it was 
said) to pawn his mother's earrings, 
to pay his travelling expenses. 
Probably he had not been very 
long in such straits ; vetere means 
only, before he was proclaimed 

Junius Blaesus] Poisoned by 
Vitellius a little later, iii. 38 sq. 

par opibus] Sometimes taken, 
' so good, that he could afford to be 
rich' (without being less generous) ; 
better simply 'rich in proportion' 
to his generosity. 

4 circumposuit] 'Placed on 
the two sides of,' an unusual use of 



umque et paludamento opertum sinu retinens Germanicum 
appellavit, cinxitque cunctis fortunae principalis insignibus. 
Nimius honos inter secunda, rebus adversis in solatium cessit. 
60 Turn interfecti centuriones promptissirni Othonianorum ; unde 
praecipua in Vitellium alienatio per Illyricos exercitus. Simul 2 
ceterae legiones contactu, et adversus Germanicos milites 
invidia, bellum meditabantur. Suetonium Paulinum ac Lici- 
nium Proculum tristi mora squalidos tenuit, donee auditi 
necessariis magis defensionibus quam honestis uterentur. 
Proditionem ultro inputabant, spatium longi ante praelium 3 
itineris, fatigationem Othonianorum, permixtum vehiculis agmen 
ac pleraque fortuita fraudi suae assignantes. Et Vitellius 
credidit de perfidia, et fidem absolvit. Salvius Titianus, 

5 paludamento opertum] Was 
he, like Caligula, dressed as a little 
soldier? or is it meant that the 
father wrapped his own cloak over 
the baby? If the former, the use 
of the word opertum means that it 
looked ridiculous for a baby in arms 
to wear such a garment, — he was 
lost in it ; if the latter, it still points 
out an absurdity, in the army turn- 
ing out to see a child who couldn't 
even be held up to them after all. 
Vitellius was careful of other people's 
comfort as well as his own (see on 
i. 52. I, 3), and was probably a kind 
as well as a fond father. 

Nimius] Not that it was es- 
sentially absurd to give a child such 
honours, but it was absurd for 
Vitellius to be called Germanicus, 
(i. 62. 4), and transmit the title to 
his son, as though he were another 

in solatium] The thought is one 
strange to a modern, depending on 
the conception of good or evil 
fortune as something objective, not 
dependent on conscious pleasure or 
pain. The poor child was put to 
death next year (iv. 81) and to 
be murdered in infancy is a mis- 

fortune ; but then, says Tacitus, he 
had in his lifetime received his good 

Ch. LX. 1 unde . . . exercitus] 
'From which more than anything 
disaffection to Vitellius spread 
through the armies of Illyricum.' 
Few of them had been present at 
the battle, so that the animosity of 
the mass had not been roused : 
those who had, had distinguished 
themselves, so that the legions did 
not feel their honour touched. But 
when their best officers were put to 
death in cold blood, they had some- 
thing to resent. 

2 squalidos] In mourning, as 
prisoners awaiting trial ; it is per- 
haps intimated, that they were 
designedly kept in suspense, so as 
to force them to more and more 
abject conduct. 

3 Proditionem ultro inputa- 
bant] 'They voluntarily asserted 
their own treason, and made a 
merit of it.' 

fidem absolvit] Not ' acquitted 
them of the crime of loyalty' (C. 
and B.), which would be fidei or 
de fide, but 'acquitted' {i.e. par- 
doned) 'their loyalty' which they 


Othonis frater, nullum discrimen adiit, pietate et ignavia 4 
excusatus. Mario Celso consulatus servatur. Sed creditum 
fama, objectumque mox in senatu Caecilio Simplici, quod eum 
honorem pecunia mercari, nee sine exitio Celsi, voluisset. 
Restitit Vitellius, deditque postea consulatum Simplici innoxium 5 
et inemptum. Trachalum adversus criminantes Galeria uxor 
Vitellii protexit. 

6 1 Inter magnorum virorum discrimina (pudendum dictu,) 
Mariccus quidam, e plebe Boiorum, inserere sese fortunae et 
provocare arma Romana simulatione numinum ausus est. 
Jamque adsertor Galliarum et deus, (nam id sibi indiderat) 2 
concitis octo milibus hominum, proximos Aeduorum pagos 
trahebat, cum gravissima civitas electa juventute, adjectis a 
Vitellio cohortibus, fanaticam multitudinem disjecit. Captus 3 
in eo praelio Mariccus, ac mox feris objectus quia non lania- 
batur, stolidum volgus inviolabilem credebat, donee spectante 
Vitellio interfectus est. 

62 Nee ultra in defectores aut bona cujusquam saevitum: rata 

had actually shown : for Tacitus immeasurably the natural superior 

clearly disbelieves the confession, of a low-born Gaul, 

and acquits Suetonius, though not inserere se fortunae] ' To thrust 

Proculus, of even the real errors of himselfintofortune'sgame/C.andB. 

judgment committed. 2 id sibi indiderat] The verb is 

4 Mario Celso] He at least was regularly used with nomen : it is 
free from all suspicion of treachery, characteristic of Tacitus to omit that 
i. 71. 6. subst, slightly varying the sense 

5 Restitit] 'Stood firm against from 'he had assumed that title 1 to 
the temptation': cp. 62. 1, iii. 'he had assumed that attribute. 7 
&6. 3. Some however take it, Probably he stood in no closer 
'contradicted the charge against relation to genuine Druidism than 
Simplex.' the Hau-haus to the primitive 

Trachalum] M. Galerius Tra- Maori paganism, 

chalus, who wrote Otho's speeches trahebat] Sometimes taken 

for him, i. 90. 2, 3. Galeria was ' began to ravage ; ' rather, 'to gain 

no doubt a near relation of his. over.' 

Ch. LXI. 1 magnorum virorum] 3 non laniabatur] Apparently 

Suetonius, Celsus, and perhaps a not uncommon occurrence, from 

Trachalus might fairly be called so ; the apprehensions of St. Ignatius, 

but it is doubtful whether Tacitus ad Rom. 5. 

means anything more distinctive Ch. LXII. i defectores] The 

than that any Roman noble was partisans of Otho, not of Mariccus, 

tac. 11. K 



fuere eorum qui acie Othoniana ceciderant testamenta, aut lex 
intestatis. Prorsus, si luxuriae temperaret, avaritiam non 
timeres. Epularum foeda et inexplebilis libido : ex urbe 2 
atque Italia inritamenta gulae gestabantur, strepentibus ab 
utroque mari itineribus * exhausti conviviorum apparatibus 
principes civitatum ; vastabantur ipsae civitates ; degenerabat 
a labore ac virtute miles adsuetudine voluptatum, et contemptu 
ducis. Praemisit in urbem edictum quo vocabulum Augusti 3 
differret, Caesaris non reciperet, cum de potestate nihil detra- 
heret. Pulsi Italia mathematici. Cautum severe ne equites 
Romani ludo et arena polluerentur, Priores id principes 4 
pecunia et saepius vi perpulerant; ac pleraque municipia et 
coloniae aemulabantur corruptissimum quemque adolescentium 
pretio inlicere. 

though it may be meant that the 
ridiculous civil war served to dis- 
tract attention from the tragical one. 
But it is disputed how the Otho- 
nians can be called defectives, for 
Vitellius as well as they had revolted 
from Galba. Perhaps it means 
those who deserted during the war, 
(the crebra transfugia of 34. I seem 
to have been mutual) ; if not, it is 
enough to say that a successful 
usurper always claims to have been 
a legitimate monarch from the first ; 
and that Vitellius actually (i. 74. 6) 
traded upon the fact that he had 
been proclaimed before Otho. 

temperaret] The impf. from 
the point of view of a contemporary, 
which the sense of non timeres 
makes the natural one. 

2 adsuetudine voluptatum] 
Apparently Vitellius had, from his 
arrival on the Rhine, introduced 
among them the habit of breakfast- 
ing on bread and wine (jentaculum)\ 
Probably there it was a good thing 
for them, but in Italy it may have 
been unwholesome, and certainly 
was thought intemperate. Cicero 

expected the whole senate to be, 
or affect to be, shocked at hearing 
that Antony used to have a dejeuner 
at eight or nine (Phil. ii. 41. 

contemptu ducis seems to have 
been rather what Tacitus thought 
ought to have resulted than what 
did. Vitellius kept his popularity 
with the common soldiers to the 

3 differret] Probably till he 
reached Rome. In both matters 
he wished to act civiliter : he meant 
to take supreme power, but supreme 
dignity should only be granted to 
him deliberately, and a dynastic 
title he would not bear at all. 
Compare i. 62. 4. 

mathematici] They had made 
themselves conspicuous on Otho's 
side, i. 22 sq. Suetonius says 
they were ordered to withdraw by 
October 1st : they said, * Very well, 
Vitellius would not be alive then. ' 
But he lived nearly two months 

severe] In a good sense, as usual. 
But Vitellius, Tacitus means to 


63 Sed Vitellius, adventu fratris et inrepentibus dominationis 
magistris superbior et atrocior, occidi Dolabellam jussit, quern 
in coloniam Aquinatem sepositum ab Othone rettulimus. 
Dolabella, audita morte Othonis, urbem introierat Id ei 2 
Plancius Varus, praetura functus, ex intimis Dolabellae amicis, 
apud Flavium Sabinum praefectum urbis objecit, tamquam 
rupta custodia ducem se victis partibus ostentasset. Addidit 3 
tentatam cohortem, quae Ostiae ageret; nee ullis tantorum 
criminum probationibus, in paenitentiam versus- seram veniam 
post scelus quaerebat Cunctantem, super tanta re Flavium 4 
Sabinum Triaria L. Vitellii uxor, ultra feminam ferox, terruit, 
ne periculo principis famam clementiae adfectaret. Sabinus, 5 
suopte ingenio mitis, ubi formido ineessisset, facilis mutatu, et 
in alieno discrimine sibi pavens, ne adlevasse videretur, inpulit 

64 ruentem. Igitur Vitellius, metu et odio, quod Petroniam 
uxorem ejus mox Dolabella in matrimonium accepisset, voca- 

remind us, was not the man it he was ashamed, ofi it afterwards, 

became to act severe, 71. I. when it was too late to save Piso.' 

Ch. LXIII. 1 Sed . . . magistris] 4 terruit ne] * Frightened (by 

Both the ablatives are most simply bidding him) not to affect :' not 

taken as causal, depending on sup- therefore a real' parallel to Hor. 

erbior et atrocior, though the first Od. i. 2. 5; ; where terruit has the 

might be a note of time and' cir- construction usual with intransitive 

cumstance. Dominationis magistri verbs of fearing ; hi. 42. 4 is more 

would be courtiers of Nero, who like this in sense, but there the 

knew how a despot behaved, and constr: is helped out by movendo : 

could teach Vitellius, whose natural here it seems safest to say that 

vices were not those of a despot, adfectaret is an imper. thrown rather 

how to behave like one.- loosely into oratio obliqua. 

rettulimus] i. 88. 1. 5 adlevasse . . . inpulit 

2 tamquam]^ Always of un- ruentem] The three words are 
certain charges, as i. 48. 5, here of correlative, and form one consistent 
a false and indeed manifestly absurd metaphor: 'to avoid seeming to 
one ; for why was a relation of have supported him, he hastened 
Galba, banished- by Otho, the the fall he saw beginning.' We 
natural person for Otho's party to may compare not only Cic. Clu. 26. 
rally round? ^o^praecipitantem . . . impellamus* 

3 nee . . . quaerebat] The but ' impulsae praeceps immane 
expression is somewhat elliptical, or ruinae ' in Juv. x. 107. 

the thought involved : ' though he Ch. LXIV. i odio quod . . . 

had no proofs of such heavy charges accepisset] So in Ann. i. 12. 6, 

(he brought them ; and though Tiberius is said to have disliked 

malicious enough to bring them), and suspected Asinius Gallus for 



turn per epistolas., vitata Flaminiae viae celebritate, devertere 
Interamnium at que ibi interfici jussit. Longum interfectori 2 
visum : in itinere ac taberna projectum humi jugulavit, magna 
cum invidia novi principatus, cujus hoc primum specimen 
noscebatur. Et Triariae licentiam modestum e proximo ex- 3 
emplum onerabat, Galeria imperatoris uxor, non inmixta tristi- 
bus ; et pari probitate mater Vitelliorum Sextilia, antiqui moris. 
Dixisse quinetiam ad primas filii sui epistolas ferebatur non 4 
Germanicum a se sed Vitellium genitum. Nee ullis postea 5 
fortunae inlecebris aut ambitu civitatis in gaudium evicta, 
domus suae tantum adversa sensit. 
65 Digressum a Lugduno Vitellium M. Cluvius Rums adse- 
quitur, omissa Hispania, laetitiam et gratulationem voltu ferens, 
animo anxius, et petitum se criminationibus gnarus. Hilarius, 2 
Caesaris libertus, detulerat, tamquam, audito Vitellii et Othonis 

having married his former wife 
Vipsania. But Tiberius had di- 
vorced her very much against his 
will, and if she had remained 
unmarried would probably have 
taken her back ; and the husband 
of the daughter of Agrippa might 
be thought to connect himself with 
the imperial family. According to 
Merivale's suggestion, the marriage 
of Silius and Messalina was only 
a similar case. It is difficult to see 
how either motives of affection or 
policy could have weight with 
Vitellius ; but it is not unintelligible 
that he should have felt a sort of 
brutal and irrational jealousy. 
Apparently Petronia had sons by 
both her husbands : according to 
Suetonius, Vitellius put his own son 
Petronianus to death — which seems 

vocatum . . . jussit] He sent 
a summons to Dolabella to meet 
him, with orders to his conductor to 
take him aside and kill him. 

Interamnium] Oftener Inter- 
amna, iii. 61. 2, 63. 2. 

2 in itinere ac taberna] In an 

inn beside the Flaminian road, 
while still ostensibly going to meet 

Noscebatur] Of course in the 
taberna it was still more public 
than at the roadside. 

3 onerabat] * Triaria's reckless- 
ness was rendered more intolerable 
by . . .' 

non inmixta tristibus] 'Who 
took no part in these horrors,' C. 

4] Dio and Suetonius give (with 
slight variations) the same story : 
the latter seems to understand her 
words as apprehending Nemesis. 

5 ambitu civitatis] Probably 
* flattery from the citizens/ though 
it may mean the temptations af- 
forded by power to influence them. 

tantum adversa] She died 
however before the final fall of her 
sons, iii. 67. 2. There was a foolish 
story that Vitellius had her starved. 

Ch. LXV. 2 Caesaris] Must 
mean Vitellius, in spite of 62. 3. It 
was the natural expression, when 


principatu, propriam ipse potentiam et possessionem Hispani- 
arum tentasset, eoque diplomatibus nullum principem prae- 
scripsisset. Interpretabatur quaedam ex orationibus ejus, 3 
contumeliosa in Vitellium et pro se ipso popularia. Auctoritas 
Cluvii praevaluit, ut puniri ultro libertum suum Vitellius 
juberet. Cluvius comitatui principis adjectus, non adempta 4 
Hispania, quam rexit absens exemplo L. Arruntii. Eum 
Tiberius Caesar ob metum, Vitellius Cluvium nulla formidine 
retinebat. Non idem Trebellio Maximo honos. Profugerat 5 
Britannia ob iracundiam militum : missus est in locum ejus 
Vettius Bolanus e praesentibus. 
66 Angebat Vitellium victarum legionum haudquaquam fractus 
animus. Sparsae per Italiam et victoribus permixtae hostilia 
loquebantur, praecipua quartadecimanorum ferocia, qui se 
victos abnuebant : quippe Bedriacensi acie, vexillariis tantum 
pulsis, vires legionis non adfuisse. Remitti eos in Britanniam, 2 
unde a Nerone exciti erant, placuit, atque interim Batavorum 
cohortes una tendere ob veterem adversus quartadecimanos 
discordiam. Nee diu in tantis armatorum odiis quies fuit. 3 

speaking of the emperor in his of Vitellius, though possibly only . 

personal capacity, zsprinceps would before proclaiming him. 

be in civil and imperator in military ultro] So far from thanking 

matters. him, or punishing Rufus. 

eoque] The fact seems not to 4 exemplo L. Arruntii] Ann. 

have been denied. Of course it is vi. 27. 3: cf. Ann. i. 13. 1, 2; 

intelligible enough that he should also i. 80. 4, xiii. 22. 2. 

have shrunk from committing him- 5 Trebellio maximo] i. 70. 

self and his officials while the event Ch. LXVI. i quartadecimano- ' 

was doubtful. Possibly in his rum] 1 1. 2, 43. 3. 

speeches too, while acknowledging 2 unde . . . erant] Nero had 

Vitellius (i. 76. 2), he had used summoned them to act against 

language about him which might be Vindex, 11. 3 ; for their relations 

quoted to Otho, if victorious, to to the Batavians see i. 59. 2, 64. 3, 

prove he had not deserted him 4. Tendere is no doubt ' to en- 

heartily nor willingly. camp,' as in i. 55. 3, though here it 

3 Interpretabatur] ' He put might be translated ' to march in 

that sense upon . . .' viz. propriam the same direction. 5 Hospitem in 

ipsum potentiam . . . tentasse : the the next section shows that it is not 

form of the sentence seems to show to be pressed as though they were 

that he had spoken contemptuously kept under canvas altogether. 


Augustae Taurinorum, dum opificem quendam Batavus ut 
fraudatorem insectatur, legionarius ut hospitem tuetur, sui 
cuique commili tones aggregati a conviciis ad caedem transiere. 
Et praelium atrox arsisset, ni duae praetoriae cohortes, causam 4 
quartadecimanorum secutae, his nduciam et metum Batavis 
fecissent. Quos Vitellius agmini suo jungi ut fldos, legionem 5 
Graiis Alpibus traductam eo flexu itineris ire jubet quo Viennam 
vitarent : namque et Viennenses timebantur. Nocte qua pro- 6 
ficiscebatur legio, relictis passim ignibus, pars Taurinae coloniae 
ambusta; quod damnum, ut pleraque belli mala, majoribus 
aliarum urbium cladibus oblitteratum. Quartadecimani post- 7 
quam Alpibus degressi sunt, seditiosissimus quisque signa 
Viennam ferebant. Consensu meliorum conpressi, et legio in 
6 7 Britanniam transvecta. Proximus Vitellio e praetoriis cohorti- 
bus metus erat. Separati primum, deinde, addito honestae 
missionis lenimento, arma ad tribunos suos deferebant, donee 
motum a Vespasiano bellum crebesceret : turn, resumpta militia, 
robur Flavianarum partium fuere. Prima classicorum legio in 2 
Hispaniam missa, ut pace et otio mitesceret ; undecima ac 

3 ut fraudatorem] Very likely Ch. LXVII. I Separati] It was 

there was a misunderstanding owing the men, not the cohorts, who could 

to neither party speaking good be spoken of as discharged, and as 

Latin. bringing in their arms : hence though 

5 Viennenses] Having been it was probably the cohorts that 

partisans of Vindex, and threatened were divided from each other, the 

by Valens' army, i. 64 sq. partic. is not unnaturally put in 

7 Quartadecimani . . . seditio- agreement with the men. 

sissimus quisque] Strictly the addito . . . lenimento] They 

subjects to degressi sunt 2xA ferebant had all the privileges and rewards 

respectively, but the order is so they would have had if they had 

arranged as to suggest an apposition been discharged peaceably, suppose 

between them : ' the men of the when superannuated. 

14th, having made the descent of deferebant] Note the tense ; the 

the Alps (the most disaffected of discharge was not hurried that it 

them, I mean), offered to march to- might be peaceable ; the consequence 

wards Vienna.' This accounts for was, it never was completed, 

the pi. verb with quisque and the robur Flavianarum partium] 

superl., which is not very common : See especially iii. 24. 3. 

with quisque and the reflexive pro- 2 Prima classicorum] Called 

noun it is. Adjutrix, 43. 1. 


septima suis hibernis redditae ; tertiadecimani struere amphi- 
theatra jussi. Nam Caecina Cremonae, Valens Bononiae 3 
spectaculum gladiatorum edere parabant, nunquam ita ad 
curas / intento Vitellio ut voluptatum oblivisceretur. 
68 Et quidem partes modeste distraxerat : apud victores orta 
seditio, ludicro initio, ni numerus caesorum invidiam bello 
auxisset. Discubuerat Vitellius Ticini, adhibito ad epulas 
Verginio. Legati tribimique, ex moribus imperatorum, severi- 2 
tatem aemulantur vel tempestivis conviviis gaudent; perinde 
miles intentus aut licenter agit. Apud Vitellium omnia indis- 
posita, temulenta, pervigiliis ac bacchanalibus quam disciplinae 
et castris propiora. Igitur duobus militibus, altero legionis 3 
quintae, altero e Gallis auxiliaribus, per lasciviam ad certamen 
luctandi accensis, postquam legionarius proeiderat, insultante 
Gallo, et iis qui ad spectandum convenerant in studia diductis, 
erupere legionarii in perniciem auxiliorum, ac duae cohortes 
interfectae. Remedium tumultus fuit alius tumultus. Pulvis 4 
procul et arma aspiciebantur : conclamatum repente quartam 
decimam legionem, verso itinere, ad praelium venire. Sed 5 
erant agminis coactores : aghiti dempsere sollicitudinem. 

Ch. LXVIII. 1 distraxerat can pervigiliis ac bacchanalibus] 

hardly be used in so mild a sense as The worst kind of orgies, which yet 

'separating* combatants, so we have the notion of a holiday, in 

must take partes of the Othonians common with more respectable re- 

exclusively ; ' he had indeed sue- ligious ceremonies. The point is 

ceeded in scattering the opposite not only that Vitellius spent his 

side without violence, it was among nights in drinking, but that he put 

the victors that trouble arose.' As business aside for the sake of it. 

for the sense of partes noted on i. Perhaps there is a hendiadys in 

13. 10, the Othonians were now these words balancing the obvious 

defectores, 62. I. one in disciplinae et castris. 

ni . . . auxisset] Men hated s. 3 insultante Gallo] One may re- 
war that destroyed thousands to member the description of Manlius' 
decide which of two voluptuaries antagonist in Liv. 7. 10, and the 
should be emperor, but their disgust parallel passage preserved from 
rose still higher when hundreds were Claudius Quadrigarius. 
destroyed about nothing what- 5 coactores] A cforaf \ey6fievop 
ever. in this sense, though agmen cohere 

2 tempestivis] ' If these suit the is of course common ; compare also 

times.' Cat. R. R. 150. 


Interim Verginii servus forte obvius ut percussor Vitellii insimu- 
latur. Et ruebat ad convivium miles, mortem Verginii 
exposcens. Ne Vitellius quid em, quamquam ad omnes suspi- 
ciones pavidus, de innocentia ejus dubitavit. Aegre tamen 6 
cohibiti, qui exitium consularis, et quondam ducis sui, flagita- 
bant. Nee quemquam saepius quam Verginium omnis seditio 
infestavit. Manebat admiratio viri et fama : sed oderant ut 

69 fastiditi. Postero die Vitellius, senatus legation e quam ibi 
opperiri jusserat audita, transgressus in castra, ultro pietatem 
militum conlaudavit, frementibus auxiliis, tantum inpunitatis 
atque adrogantiae legionariis accessisse. Batavorum cohortes 2 
ne quid truculentius auderent, in Germaniam remissae, prin- 
cipium interno simul externoque bello parantibus fatis. Red- 3 
dita civitatibus Gallorum auxilia, ingens numerus et prima 
statim defectione inter inania belli adsumptus. Ceterum ut 4 
largitionibus adfectae jam imperii opes sufficerent, amputari 
legionum auxiliorumque numeros jubet, vetitis supplements; 
et promiscae missiones offerebantur. Exitiabile id reipublicae, 5 
ingratum militi, cui eadem munia inter paucos, periculaque ac 
labor crebrius redibant. Et vires luxu corrumpebantur, contra 
veterem disciplinam et instituta majorum, apud quos virtute 
quam pecunia res Romana melius stetit 

70 Inde Vitellius Cremonam flexit, et, spectato munere Cae- 
cinae, insistere Bedriacensibus campis ac vestigia recentis 
victoriae lustrare oculis concupivit Foedum atque atrox 2 

6 Nee quemquam, etc.] See on the false shows employed in war;' 

49. 2. their number served to alarm the 

ut fastiditi] After the death of enemy, though it was known that 

Vindex, i. 8. 7 ; the passage just they would be useless in the field, 

referred to of course does not refer 4 amputari . . . numeros] 

to these soldiers. ' That the corps ' (as i. 6. 5) ' should 

Ch. LXIX. 1 pietatem] See on be cut down' in number, the skeleton 

i. 83. 3. of each being preserved. Ifthecon- 

2 interno . . . bello] See on i. struction were * that the numbers 
2. 2. should be reduced,' we should have 

3 inter inania belli] ' As one of had a different word from amputari. 


spectaculum. Intra quadragesimum pugnae diem Iacera cor- 
pora, trunci artus, putres virorum equorumque formae, infecta 
tabo humus, protritis arboribus ac frugibus dira vastitas. Nee 3 
minus inhumana pars viae, quam Cremonenses lauru rosaque 
constraverant, exstructis altaribus caesisque victimis regium in 
morem; quae, laeta in praesens, mox perniciem ipsis fecere. 
Aderant Valens et Caecina, monstrabantque pugnae locos : 4 
hinc inrupisse legionum agmen, hinc equites coortos, inde 
circumfusas auxiliorum manus. Jam tribuni praefectique, sua 
quisque facta extollentes, falsa, vera, aut majora vero miscebant. 
Volgus quoque militum clamore et gaudio deflectere via, spatia 5 
certaminum recognoscere, aggerem armorum, strues corporum 
intueri, mirari. Et erant quos varia fors rerum lacrimaeque 
et misericordia subiret. At non Vitellius flexit oculos, nee 6 
tot milia insepultorum civium exhorruit. Laetus ultro, et tarn 
propinquae sortis ignarus, instaurabat sacrum dis loci. 
71 Exin Bononiae a Fabio Valente gladiatorum spectaculum 
editur, advecto ex urbe cultu. Quantoque magis propinquabat, 
tanto corruptius iter, inmixtis histrionibus et spadonum gregi- 

Ch. LXX. 2 Intra quadragesi- the same construction of the abl. 

mum pugnae diem] Just the time without a preposition in i. 27. 5. 

when the horror would be greatest, spatia certaminum J 'The course 

worse than while the corpses were the various encounters had tra- 

fresh, or when those not removed versed,' from the first onset of the 

would have left only bones. Othonians till they were pushed 

formae] ' Shapes ' only traceable back and broken, 

in outline, through decay. 6 insepultorum civium] Accord- 

3 regium in morem] As though ing to Suetonius, he said « optime 
in honour of an oriental despot ; olere occisum kostem, melius cive?n? 
compare Aesch. Ag. 919, 935-6. Tacitus says he showed a temper 

perniciem . . . fecere] iii. 32. that made the saying credible, but 

3, 4. avoids making himself responsible 

4 nine . . . manus] If the re- for its having been uttered, 
ference be to definite incidents of tarn propinquae sortis ignarusj 
this battle, rather than to such as The dii loci were no sure friends to 
are a matter of course in any, we him, as his main army was over- 
may explain the three clauses re- thrown on the same spot, 
spectively from 43. 1-3, 41.4, 5, and Ch. LXXI. i cultu] 'Furniture,' 
43. 3 fin. especially ornaments, including both 

5 clamore et gaudio] We have the fittings for the building and 



bus et cetero Neronianae aulae ingenio. Namque et Neronem 2 
ipsum Vitellius admiratione celebrabat, sectari cantantem soli- 
tus, non necessitate, qua honestissimus quisque, sed luxu et 
saginae mancipatus emptusque. Ut Valenti et Caecinae vacuos 3 
honoris menses aperiret, coartati aliorum consulatus, dissimu- 
latus Marcii Maori, tamquam Othonianarum partium ducis ; et 
Valerium Marinum destinatum a Galba consulem distulit, 
nulla offensa, sed mitem et injuriam segniter laturum. Pedanius 4 
Costa omittitur, ingratus principi, ut adversus Neronem ausus, 
et Verginii exstimulator : sed alias protulit causas. Actaeque 
insuper Vitellio gratiae, consuetudine servitii. 
72 Non ultra paucos dies, quamquam acribus initiis coeptum, 
mendacium valuit. Exstiterat quidam Scribonianum se Came- 
rinum ferens, Neronianorum temporum metu in Histria occul- 

the equipments of the men them- 
2 celebrabat . . . solitus] He 

(like Otho) celebrated Nero's mem- 
ory now, having been one of his 
companions while he lived. 

non . . . qLUisque] Vitellius 
however was not singular in his 
interested subservience ; i. 4. 3 in- 
dicates a considerable class, qui 
adesis bonis per dedecus Neroni ale- 

luxu . . . emptusciue] Stronger 
and more bitter, says Or., than ven- 
ditus emancipatusque, which is com- 
moner in the metaphorical sense. 
Luxu is of course a dat. 

3 aliorum] ' Of some ' as opposed 
to Macer and Marinus, not 'of 
others,' as opposed to Valens and 

dissimulatus] ' Ignored,' pre- 
tended not to have been assigned. 

laturum] Tacitus uses the simple 
participle, as in Greek one would 
use the participle with <hs. 

4 Pedanius Costa omittitur] Ap- 
parently to make room for Caecilius 
Simplex, iii. 68. 3. 'Fasti con- 
sulares hujus anm sic constituendi 

sunt: Galba et Vinius d. I -15 Jan- 
uarii, Otho et Tilianus d. 15 Jan.- 
I Mart. : Verginius et Pompeius 
Vopiscusper m.Martium et Aprilem : 
Caelius et Flavius Sabinus per m. 
Malum et Junium : Arrius An- 
toninus et Marius Celsus per m. 
yulium et Augustum : Caecina et 
Valens per m. Septembr. et Octobr. : 
jRosius Regulus Caecinae suffectus 
per unum d. 31 Octobr. : Caecilius 
Simplex et Quintius Atticus per m. 
Novembr. et Decembr. ' Or. 

Ch. LXXII. 1 Non . . . valuit] 
We should have expected menda- 
cium to stand first ; we should then 
have the same Tacitean sort of 
narrative as 15. 3, 41. 4. Here the 
order was perhaps determined by 
Tacitus not having made up his 
mind whether to express the general 
sentiment that imposture never 
succeeds long, or to state (as he 
does) the specific fact that this im- 
posture did not. 

Scribonianum se Camerinum . . . 
metu] The Sulpicius Camerinus of 
Ann. xiii. 52. I was, according to 
Dio, put to death by Helius with 
his son. Probably Geta personated 



tatum, quod illic clientelae et agri vetemm Crassorum ac 
nominis favor manebat. Igitur deterrimo quoque in argu- 2 
mentum fabulae assumpto, volgus credulum et quidam militum, 
errore veri seu turbarum studio, certatirn adgregabantur ; cum 
pertractus ad Vitellium, interrogatusque quisnam mortalium 
esset, postquam nulla dictis fides et a domino noscebatur, 
condicione fugitivus, nomine Geta, sumptum de eo supplicium 
in servilem modum. 

73 Vix credibile memoratu est quantum superbiae socordiaeque 
Vitellio adoleverit, postquam speculatores e Suria Judaeaque 
adactum in verba ejus Orientem nuntiavere. Nam etsi vagis 2 
adhuc et incertis auctoribus, erat tamen in ore famaque Vespa- 
sianus, ac plerumque ad nomen ejus Vitellius excitabatur. 
Turn ipse exercitusque, ut nullo aemulo, saevitia, libidine, 

74 raptu in externos mores proruperant. At Vespasianus bellum 
armaque, et procul vel juxta sitas vires, circumspectabat. 

the latter, or perhaps an imaginary 
younger brother, supposed to have 
taken alarm from their fate. From 
the combination of the names Scri- 
bonianus and Crassus, we may guess 
that the elder Camerinus had 
married a sister of Piso Licinianus 
— see the genealogy on i. 14. 2. 
Piso's adoption by Galba had served 
to keep the family before men's 
eyes, and this decided the slave as 
to which of Nero's victims he should 
connect himself with. 

2 argumentum fabulae] 'Ad- 
mitted into the plot of the piece,' 
i.e. allowed to know it so as to make 
sure of their acting their own parts 

mortalium] The word is used in 
a similar expletive way in Agr. 11. 
1. It seems merely to indicate 
utter uncertainty, as we say, ' Who 
on earth ? ' there is nothing there to 
point to legends of supernatural in- 
habitants, nor here to bring out the 

sarcasm, that Camerinus had been 
killed once, so that if this was he, 
he must have more lives than one. 

condicione fugitivus] irap 
birbvoiav : condicione servus would 
have been natural enough ; but 
this pretender to nobility not only 
belonged to the lowest class of 
society — he had sunk even below 
that, by dishonesty. 

Ch. LXXIII. 1 speculatores] 
In the usual technical sense : 
members of the emperor's body- 
guard were his natural messengers 
on military business. 

2 plerumque . . . excitabatur] 
The verb is rather a strong one. 
Vitellius was habitually absorbed 
in the pleasures of the moment — it 
always needed something to rouse 
him from his torpor : but hearing 
the name of Vespasian was generally 
enough to do so. 

in externos mores] Those of an 
oriental court, as in 70. 3. 



Miles ipsi adeo paratus, ut praeeuntem sacramentum, et fausta 
Vitellio omina precantem, per silentium audierint. Muciani 2 
animus nee Vespasiano alienus et in Titum pronior. Prae- 
fectus Aegypti Ti. Alexander consilia sociaverat. Tertiam 
legionem, quod e Suria in Moesiam transisset, suam numerabat. * 
Ceterae Illyrici legiones secuturae sperabantur ; namque omnes 3 
exercitus flammaverat adrogantia venientium a Vitellio militum, 
quod truces corpore, horridi sermone, ceteros ut inpares inride- 
bant. Sed in tanta mole belli plerumque cunctatio ; et Vespa- 4 
sianus, modo in spem erectus, aliquando adversa reputabat :— 
Quis ille dies foret, quo sexaginta aetatis annos et duos filios 
juvenes bello permitteret ? Esse privatis cogitationibus pro- 
gressum, et prout velint, plus minusve sumi ex fortuna : 
imperium cupientibus nihil medium inter sumraa aut praecipitia. 

Ch. LXXIV. 1 fausta . . . pre- 
cantem] Bona or fausta omnia 
precari was the technical expression ; 
else some would read omina : M. has 
an abbreviation, which though pro- 
perly standing for omnia, is some- 
what ambiguous. The reluctance 
of the soldiers to commit themselves 
to the oath is stronger than that 
described in i. 55. 1. It shows 
how the longum Caesarum sacra- 
mentum (i. 5. 1) had been depreciat- 
ed by the extinction of the dynasty, 
that Vespasian, a loyal soldier and 
conscientious man as times went, 
thought it worth while to take an 
oath he meant to break immediately, 
for the mere sake of sounding his 
troops : for Vitellius's alarm clearly 
was not lulled long enough to 
produce any practical effect of 

2 nee . . . pronior] See above, 
5. 1. 

e Suria] M. has de, and the 
insertion of d by diTToypa<f>ia here 
is less likely a priori than the 
omission of Ti by bixoiorikevTov 
just above. But Or. doubts the 
legitimacy of the construction 

transire de, though admitting that it 
might have a distinctive sense — that 
they had been withdrawn from 
Syria, not simply sailed from Syria. 

3 horridi sermone] 'Speaking 
a rude dialect/ C. and B. If not 
quite so much as this, the passage 
clearly means that they were bar- 
barized by their service on the 
German frontier. 

4 Esse privatis . . .] 'In private 
designs there is room to advance 
[or not] ; private men may, as they 
choose, draw more or less heavily 
upon fortune.' The subject to 
velint is privata cogitantes, to be 
supplied from privatis cogitationibus. 
Sumi ex fortuna is probably to be 
explained as above translated — 
fortune, instead of being personified, 
is conceived as an unappropriated 
store of success for some unknown 
comer : or we might translate, ' they 
take more or less, according to their 
fortune ' — proportion their aims for 
the future to their success in the 

inter summa aut praecipitia] 
So M. and recent edd., but two 
copies and the old vulgate substi- 



7 5 Versabatur ante oculos Germanici exercitus robur, notum viro 
militari : suas legiones civili bello inexpertas, Vitellii victrices, 
et apud victos plus querimoniarum quam virium. Fluxam 2 
per discordias militum fidem, et periculum ex singulis : quid 
enim profuturas cohortes alasque, si unus alterque praesenti 
facinori paratum ex diverso praemium petat? Sic Scriboni- 3 
anum sub Claudio interfectum; sic percussorem ejus Vola- 
ginium e gregario ad summa militiae provectum. Facilius 

76 universos inpelli quam singulos vitari. His pavoribus nutantem 
et alii legati amicique firmabant, et Mucianus, post multos 

tuted et, which is as much less 
Tacitean as it is more obvious. 
The sense either way would be the 
same, 'no alternative between the 
highest success and utter downfall ' 
(C. and B. ) ; but with et the words 
could be translated, ' there was no 
ground intervening between pre- 
cipitous heights,' and to this false 
interpretation of a false reading we 
probably owe the picturesque device 
of Montrose — a lion preparing to 
leap from one rocky peak to a 
higher, with an abyss between. 

Ch. LXXV. 1 Versabatur . . . 
militari] He had commanded a 
legion in Germany itself, in the 
reign of Claudius. But Tacitus 
probably means only that a good 
soldier, such as he was, would have 
studied the qualities of the whole 
army, and the conditions of service 
everywhere, even beyond the range 
of his personal knowledge. 

suas . . . Vitellii . . . victos] 
His main reliance was on his own 
legions, including (74. 2) the one 
lately sent into Moesia : he had 
a faint hope of desertion from 
Vitellius, and a better one of sup- 
port from the Othonians. But, he 
reflects, his own men might refuse 
to fight against Romans ; the 
Vitellians, if they did not care 
much for their emperor, would 

identify his cause with that of their 
own pride ; and the Othonians, 
though discontented enough, had 
been beaten once, and might be 

2 si unus . . . petat] ' If one 
or two men should seek from the 
opposite side the reward held ready 
for the deed of a moment,' or 
perhaps rather, ' for a deed in their 
power at a moment's notice.' The 
antithesis of the collectives cohortes 
alasque to unus alterque is meant to 
explain ex singulis. Facinus is 
hardly a word of moral blame : see 
on 50. 2. Praesens has been trans- 
lated 'daring,' like praesens animus 
or virtus, but there the distinctive 
force lies in the subst. It is doubted 
whether facinora, the f.l. of M., 
should be converted into -ri or -re. 
If the dat. be read, we shall trans- 
late as above, if the abl., we must 
make paratum mean ' gained by a 
deed,' etc. 

3 Scribonianum] We have not 
Tacitus's account of his rebellion, 
though it is alluded to in i. 89. 2, 
Ann. xii. 52. 1. As told by extant 
authorities, it appears that his failure 
was rather due to the reluctance of 
his men generally to follow him, 
than to the treachery of one. 

inpelli] ' Set in motion ' by a 
sudden appeal : see on i. 5. 1. 

i 5 8 


secretosque sermones jam et coram ita locutus : — £ Omnes qui 2 
magnarum rerum consilia suscipiunt, aestimare debent an 
quod inchoatur reipublicae utile, ipsis gloriosum, aut promptum 
effectu, aut certe non arduum sit. Simul ipse qui suadet con- 
siderandus est, adiciatne consilio periculum suum, et, si 
fortuna coeptis adfuerit, cui summum decus adquiratur. Ego 3 
te, Vespasiane, ad imperium voco, tam salutare reipublicae, 
quam tibi magnificum. Juxta deos in tua manu positum est. 
Nee speciem adulantis expaveris, A contumelia quam a laude 
propius fuerit post Vitellium eligL Non, adversus divi Augusti 4 
acerrimam mentem, nee adversus cautissimam Tiberii senectu- 
tem, ne contra Gai quidem, aut Claudii vel Neronis, fundatam 
longo imperio domum exsurgimus. Cessisti etiam Galbae 
imaginibus. Torpere ultra, et polluendam perdendamque 5 
rempublicam relinquere, sopor et ignavia videretur, etiam si 
tibi, quam inhonesta, tam tuta servitus esset. Abiit jam et 6 

Ch. LXXVI. 1 coram] Hardly 
before the army, but before the 
legati et amici; all present, from 78. 
I, appear to be on the same terms 
with him as Mucianus.. M. has 
coronam-, but there is little doubt 
the correction of the text is the 
right one. 

2] The preamble of the speech 
is suggested by that of the Corcy- 
rean ambassadors in Thuc. i. 32. 1. 
The first two requisites for such? a 
scheme, its public and private ex- 
pediency, are shown in § 3 to belong 
to that which Mucianus proposes ; 
then he passes into the next — its 
facility ; then, in the first half of 
c. 70, he meets the further con- 
siderations, 'Does the author of 
the advice give it at his own risk, 
or at yours only? will success be 
for your benefit, or his only?' by 
showing that he takes an equal risk 
with Vespasian, and has a reason- 
able motive for leaving the profit 
to him. 

3- Juxta deos . . . positum est] 

After the gods, no one has a better 
right to it : unless the gods prevent, 
it is in your power to take it. 

A contumelia . . . propius] 
See on i. 10. 2. 

4 aut Claudii vel Neronis] 
Perhaps the variation of the con- 
junctions is not accidental; the 
sense may be to distinguish, first 
the two emperors of independent 
personal ability, then their heir, 
too mad or too bad to do anything 
to strengthen his dynasty, and 
then the two who, having inherited 
power they did not merit, still knew 
how to use their strength, and 
maintain their position. An attack 
on Claudius or Nero might seem 
less promising than one on Gaius, 
though more so than on Augustus 
or Tiberius. 

Cessisti . . . imaginibus] See 
on i. 49. 4. It is implied that, ex- 
cept noble birth, Vespasian had at 
least as good a claim to empire as 



transvectum est tempus, quo posses videri concupisse : con- 
fugiendum est ad imperium. An excidit trucidatus Corbulo ? 
splendidior origine quam nos sumus, fateor : sed et Nero 
nobilitate natalium Vitellium anteibat. Satis clarus est apud 7 
timentem quisquis timetur. Et posse ab exercitu principem 
fieri sibi ipse Vitellius documento, nullis stipendiis, nulla mili- 
tari fama, Galbae odio provectus. Ne Othonem quidem ducis 8 
arte aut exercitus vi, sed praepropera ipsius desperatione 
victum, jam desiderabilem et magnum principem fecit, cum 

Galba. Vespasian's own family was 
undistinguished, and he ridiculed' 
all attempts to make it appear other- 
wise ; there were however some 
Flavii of whom we hear as far back 
as B.C. 328, and Ap. Claudius' 
famous secretary, not many years 
later, might be said to give the name 
some distinction. Vespasian had 
very likely as good a right to the 
imago of that patriarch of novi 
homines, as the Bruti of Caesar's 
time to that of the founder of the 

6 quo posses videri concupisse] 
Nearly every one rightly agrees in 
rejecting the conjecture non cupisse, 
but the phrase as it stands is arguta 
sententia (Or.) He and most in- 
terpreters say that the emphasis is 
on vider^ ' the time is past when you 
could be thought to have coveted 
empire ; ' now you must be known 
to covet it. But videri is hardly so 
confined to the meaning of doubtful 
appearance as to sustain such an an- 
tithesis, especially when the second 
member is suppressed. It would 
be easier to lay the stress on posses 
— ' the time is past when you could 
afford to be thought to have coveted ' 
what you could not be suspected of 
aiming at. But neither of these 
seems to bring out the force of the 
perf. inf. so well as one might 
by paraphrasing vide?'i aliquando 
potuisti concupisse : nunc non potest 
fieri quin videaris concupiscere. ' 

excidit] Sc. mente. 

trucidatus] Strictly speaking, he 
was made to kill himself. 

splendidior . . . sumus] Scarcely 
than a Licinius Mucianus, but the 
speaker artfully affects to unite his 
own case with that of his friend. 
Corbulo was perhaps the adopted 
son of the praetorian senator of 
Ann. iii. 31. 4; by birth he was 
brother to Caesonia, the last wife of 
the emperor Gaius. It seems that 
Tacitus hints here that there were 
grounds for Nero's suspicions of 
him ; the usual accounts represent 
him as strictly and even extra- 
vagantly loyal. 

7 Et posse . . . fieri] Cf. i. 4. 2. 
Galose odio] By the men's hatred 

to Galba, not Galba's to Vitellius, 
of which we never hear. 

8 Ne Othonem quidem . . . mag- 
num principem fecit] The two 
sentiments, that it was no credit to 
Vitellius to have beaten Otho, and 
that he had surpassed him in vices, 
are run into one sentence in a way 
not ungrammatical, but rather awk- 
ward. As usual, the force of the 
sentence is expressed rather by its 
order than by its construction. It 
happens that in English we can 
make it a little more symmetrical 
without recasting it. * Even Otho 
he defeated not by generalship or 
armed force . . . , and even hirn 
he has now made men regret as a 
great emperor.' 


interim spargit legion es, exarmat cohortes, nova cotidie bello 
semina ministrat. Si quid ardoris ac ferociae miles habuit, 
popinis et comissationibus et principis imitatione deteritur. 
Tibi e Judaea et Suria et Aegypto novem legiones integrae, 9 
nulla acie exhaustae, non discordia corruptae, sed firmatus 
usu miles, et belli domitor externi ; classium, alarum, cohor- 
tium robora, et rldissimi reges, et tua ante omnis experientia. 
77 Nobis nihil ultra adrogabo, quam ne post Valentem et Caeci- 
nam numeremur. Ne tamen Mucianum socium spreveris, 
quia aemulum non experiris. Me Vitellio antepono, te mihi. 
Tuae domui triumphale nomen, duo juvenes, capax jam imperii 2 
alter, et primis militiae annis apud Germanicos quoque exer- 
citus clarus. Absurdum fuerit non cedere imperio ei, cujus 
filium adoptaturus essem, si ipse imperarem. Ceterum inter 3 
nos non idem prosperarum adversarumque rerum ordo erit. 
Nam si vincimus, honorem quem dederis habebo : discrimen 
ac pericula ex aequo patiemur. Immo, ut melius est, tuos 

exarmat cohortes] 69. 4. Tacitus Ch. LXXVII. 2 triumphale 

knew of these measures ; did nomen] He had received the tri- 

Mucianus ? umphalia ornamenta (no one but the 

principis imitatione] Of course emperor now ever had the triumph 

* imitating their emperor,' viz., in itself) under Claudius, for his suc- 

the tavern revelry just mentioned. cesses in Britain. 

But Or. very strongly rejects this apud Germanicos, etc.] See on 

explanation, and takes the words 75. 1. Titus had served as tribune 

' by his pretending to be an emperor' under his father, both there and in 

when he is not fit for one. Britain. 

9 novem legiones] Four in 3 honorem quem dederis habebo] 

Syria (i. 10. 1), three in Judaea (ib. Honorem is the virtual subject, quem 

5), and two in Egypt (v. 1. 3). dederis the predicate, 'the honour 

nulla acie exhaustae] Those in I receive will be your gift, ' and the 

Judaea had indeed been engaged in tense implies, ' its amount at your 

vigorous siege warfare; but Jo- discretion.' 

sephus' defence of Jotapata was discrimen ac pericula] Often 

exceptionally well. sustained, and it conjoined, as Or. points out. They 

is plain from his account that even are not quite synonymous — the first 

there the Romans lost less in men is the anxious ' risk ' of failure, 

than time. while success is still possible, the 

classium] See 83. 2. second the ' dangers ' of worse evil 

reges] v. 1. 4. The German to follow on failure, 

princes of iii. 5. 4 had not yet tuos exercitus rege] Act as 

been secured. emperor, treat the armies as your 


exercitus rege, mihi bellum et praeliorum incerta trade. 
Acriore hodie disciplina victi quam victores agunt. Hos ira, 4 
odium, ultionis cupiditas ad virtutem accendit : illi per fasti- 
dium et contumaciam hebescunt. Aperiet et recludet contecta 
et tumescentia victricium partium volnera bellum ipsum. Nee 5 
mihi major in tua vigilantia, parsimonia, sapientia, fiducia est 
quam in Vitellii torpore, inscitia, saevitia. Sed meliorem in 
bello causam quam in pace habemus : nam qui deliberant, 
yg desciverunt.' Post Muciani orationem ceteri audentius cir- 
cumsistere, hortari, responsa vatum et siderum motus referre. 
Nee erat intactus tali superstitione, ut qui mox, rerum dominus, 2 
Seleucum quemdam mathematicum, rectorem et praescium 
palam habuerit. Recursabant animo vetera omina. Cupressus 3 
arbor in agris ejus, conspicua altitudine, repente prociderat, 
ac postera die, eodem vestigio resurgens, procera et latior 
virebat. Grande id prosperumque consensu haruspicum, et 
summa claritudo juveni admodum Vespasiano promissa. Sed 4 
primo triumphalia et consulates et Judaicae victoriae decus 
inplesse fidem ominis videbantur : ut haec adeptus est, portendi 
sibi imperium credebat. Est Judaeam inter Suriamque Car- 5 
melus : ita vocant montem deumque. Nee simulacrum deo 

own, and me as your general. The are perhaps to understand, not that 

antithesis of tuos and mihi prevents the prophecies quoted in Ves- 

our supposing it means merely ' keep pasian's favour were imaginary, but 

your own army to conquer the Jews, only that they would have been un- 

while I undertake the more perilous heeded if they had failed. Josephus 

task of conquering Viteliius. , asserts that when made prisoner and 

5 parsimonia] Always in a good brought before Vespasian, he told 

sense, as i. 37. 7. Vespasian was him of his destiny, apparently 

usually charged with avarice (sup. grounding it on the interpretation of 

5. 1), apparently from his conduct Daniel mentioned in v. 13. 3. 

when proconsul in Africa ; his half- 2 Nee erat intactus, etc.] See 

humorous niggardliness as emperor iv. 81 sqq. 

was as prudent and seemingly not 4 triumpnalia] See on 77. 2. 

as unpopular as Galba's (i. 49. 5). consulatus] The two last months 

But in 84. 2 it is intimated that he of a.d. 51. 

at least winked at actual corruption. 5 ita vocant montem deumque] 

Ch. LXXVIII. 1 responsa va- The well-known meaning of this 

turn] See cc. 3.4. From i. 10. 7 we name ('garden') makes it unlikely 

tac. ir. l 


aiit templum : sic tradidere majores, aram tantum et reveren- 
tiam. Illic sacrificanti Vespasiano, cum spes occultas versaret 6 
animo, Basilides sacerdos, inspectis identidem extis, ' Quicquid 
est/ inquit, 'Vespasiane, quod paras, seu domum exstruere, 
seu prolatare agros, sive ampliare servitia, datur tibi magna 
sedes, ingentes termini, multum hominum.' Has ambages et 7 
statim exceperat fama et tunc aperiebat. Nee quicquam 
magis in ore volgi. Crebriores apud ipsum sermones, quanto 

79 sperantibus plura dicuntur. Haud dubia destinatione dis- 
cessere, Mucianus Antiochiam, Vespasianus Caesaream : ilia 
Suriae, haec Judaeae caput est. 

Initium ferendi ad Vespasianum imperii Alexandriae coep- 
tum, festinante Tiberio Alexandro, qui Kalendis Juliis Sacra- 
mento ejus legiones adegit. Isque primus principatus dies 2 
in posterum celebratus, quamvis Judaicus exercitus quinto 
Nonas Julias apud ipsum jurasset, eo ardore ut ne Titus quidem 
filius exspectaretur, Suria remeans, et consiliorum inter Muci 
anum ac patrem nuntius. Cuncta impetu militum acta, non 

80 parata contione, non conjunctis legionibus. Dum quaeritur 

that the god cannot have been so aborigines ; the Greek name of the 
called, unless from the feeling quis priest proves nothing. 
deus incertuni est; habitat deus : Ch. LXXIX. i haec Judaeae 
people sacrificed to the God of caput est] The civil capital of the 
Carmel, whoever he might be. The province ; in v. 8. I he accurately 
mountain is almost certain, from its says Hierosolyifia genti caput. 
position, to have been a Canaanite Initium . . . Alexandro] Jose- 
sanctuary ; it was an Israelite one phus (B. J. iv. 10. 6) says that he 
( 1 Kings xviii. 30) at some unknown only proclaimed Vespasian on hear- 
time before Ahab, and remained so ing from him that he had been pro- 
(2 Kings iv. 23) for some time after- claimed in Judaea. And Suetonius 
wards ; and is to this day visited makes the latter take place on the 
for an annual sacrifice by the Druses. nth {quinto Idus) instead of the 3d 
The absence of image or temple of July. As to this at least, Tacitus 
points to the continuous antiquity is admitted to be certainly right, 
of the worship ; but inspectis . . extis 2 non parata contione] An abl. 
proves that it was not now Judaic, abs., 'without the men being got 
nor, it may be added, in the common together to hear an address,' as ap- 
historical sense, Samaritan. It is pears from the symmetry of con- 
however as likely to have been junctis legionibus. 
derived from some of Esarhaddon's Ch. LXXX. i Dum quaeritur, 
colonists as from the Phoenician etc.] While Vespasian and his offi- 



tempus, locus, quodque in re tali difficillimum est, prima vox, 
dum animo spes, timor, ratio, casus obversantur, egressum 
cubiculo Vespasianum pauci milites, solito adsistentes ordine 
ut legatum salutaturi, ' Imperatorem ' salutavere. Turn ceteri 2 
adcurrere, Caesarem et Augustum et omnia principatus voca- 
bula cumulare. Mens a metu ad fortunam transierat. In 
ipso nihil tumidum, adrogans, aut in rebus novis novum fuit. 
Ut primum tantae mutationis obfusam oculis caliginem disjecit, 
militariter locutus laeta omnia et affluentia excepit. Namque 3 
id ipsum opperiens Mucianus alacrem militem in verba Vespa- 
siani adegit. Turn Antiochensium theatrum ingressus, ubi 
illis consultare mos est, concurrentes et in adulationem effusos 
adloquitur, satis decorus etiam Graeca facundia, omniumque 
quae diceret atque ageret arte quadam ostentator. Nihil 4 

cers were deliberating when, where, 
and by whom the empire should be 
formally offered him, the soldiers 
offered it spontaneously. 

Imperatorem] They felt most 
within their rights in conferring this 
title ; in theory they might have 
done so without revolting from 
Vitellius, as Camillus had borne the 
title under Tiberius. 

2 omnia principatus vocabula] 
But apparently not princeps itself: 
that it unquestionably rested with 
the Senate to confer. 

Mens] Their mind, not his, or 
there would be no point in the transi- 
tion marked by in ipso. 

ad fortunam] To a sense that 
they were on the winning side. 

mutationis] A not very certain 
correction for multitudinis. It is 
harsh to speak of a man being 
blinded by a crowd, but it may be 
doubted whether Tacitus was not 
capable of so speaking — still more, 
whether the conjecture in the text is 
the best possible. 

militariter . . . excepit] He 
received their acclamations with a 

short soldier-like speech, and then, 
going about other business, found 
everything else as favourable as his 
own men's temper, and favourable 
news streaming in. Laeta omnia 
includes more than good news from 
a distance, but affltientia specifies 
this, and is explained by describing 
the good news from Mucianus. 

3 id ipsum] That Vespasian 
should be called I??iperator by his 
own soldiers —who alone could give 
the title, according to custom. 

uTbi illis consultare mos est] Not 
the Athenian custom, but that of 
most Greek democracies, or states 
where there was an Ecclesia at all ; 
at least in the decline of Greek 
political life. We may remember 
the meeting at Tarentum, which 
precipitated the war of Pyrrhus. 

satis decorus . . . ostentator] 
The second clause at least is meant 
as a questionable compliment — he 
was a vain man, though he had too 
good taste to make his vanity ridi- 
culous. Not impossibly the former 
is so too ; it was all very well to be 
an elegant speaker and a linguist. 


aeque provinciam exercitumque accendit quam quod adsevera- 
bat Mucianus statuisse Vitellium, ut Germanicas legiones in 
Suriam ad militiam opulentam quietamque transferret, contra 
Suriacis legionibus Germanica hiberna, caelo ac laboribus dura, 
mutarentur. Quippe et provinciales sueto militum contubernio 5 
gaudebant, plerique necessitudinibus et propinquitatibus mixti ; 
et militibus vetustate stipendiorum nota et familiaria castra in 
► I modum penatium diligebantur. Ante Idus Julias Suria omnis 
in eodem sacramento fuit. Accessere cum regno Sohaemus 
baud spernendis viribus, Antiochus vetustis opibus ingens, et 
inservientium regum ditissimus. Mox per occultos suorum 2 
nuntios excitus ab urbe Agrippa, ignaro adhuc Vitellio, celeri 
navigatione properaverat. Nee minore animo regina Berenice 
partes juvabat, florens aetate formaque, et seni quoque Vespa- 
siano magnificentia munerum grata. Quicquid provinciarum 3 
adluitur mari Asia atque Achaia tenus, quantum que introrsus 
in Pontum et Armenios patescit, juravere. Sed inermes legati 
regebant, nondum additis Cappadociae legionibus. Consilium 4 

but a Roman lowered his dignity by 2 ab urbe Agrippa] He had 

laying himself out for the applause started thither with Titus to con- 

of Greeks. gratulate Galba, but unlike him 

5 plerique . . . mixti] If a (sup. 1, 2) went on in hopes to gain 

fourth of each maniple (i. 46. 4) was credit with the new emperor. If 

usually off duty and mixed with the he had gained the character of an 

civil population, barrack-life would Othonian, a union between him and 

be less unbroken, and the inter- Vespasian was for the interests of 

course between the soldiers and the both. 

civil population freer than in modern florens aetate] She must have 

regular armies, and the obstacles to been at least forty, twelve years 

soldiers marrying proportionately older than her lover. Both in 

less. Italy and the East women of this 

vetustate stipendiorum] Except period seem to have retained their 

for the exigencies of a campaign charms late, in spite of what 

now and then, and such more per- we should think unnaturally early 

manent changes as the conquest of marriages. 

Britain, the legions had been rarely seni quociue Vespasiano] Her 

transferred since the settlement of attractions to the younger being 

the empire. notorious, and having been men- 

Ch. LXXXI. 1 cum regno So- tioned by Tacitus in c. 2. 1, 2. 

haemus] Ann. xiii. 7. 2. 3 nondum . . . legionibus] 

Antiocnus . . . ditissimus] See They were first sent there by Ves- 

un 25. 3. pasian when emperor. 


de summa rerum Beryti habitum< Illuc Mucianus cum legatis 
tribunisque et splendidissimo quoque centurionum ac militum 
venit, et e Judaico exercitu lecta decora. Tantum simul pedi- 5 
turn equitumque, et aemulantium inter se regum paratus, 
speciem fortunae principalis effecerant. Prima belli cura, 
82 agere delectus, revocare veteranos. Destinantur validae civi- 
tates exercendis armorum officinis ; apud Antiochenses aurum 
argentumque signatur; eaque cuncta per idoneos ministros, 
suis quaeque locis, festinabantur. Ipse Vespasianus adire, 2 
hortari, bonos laude, segnes exemplo incitare, saepins quam 
coercere, vitia magis amicorum quam virtutes dissimulans. 
Multos praefecturis et procurationibus, plerosque senatorii 
ordinis honore percoluit, egregios viros et mox summa adeptos ; 
quibusdam fortuna pro virtutibus fuit. Donativom militi 3 
neque Mucianus prima contione, nisi modice, ostenderat; ne 
Vespasianus quidem plus civili bello obtulit, quam alii in pace, 
egregie firmus adversus militarem largitionem, eoque exercitu 
meliore. Missi ad Parthum Armeniumque legati, provisumque 4 
ne, versis ad civile bellum legionibus, terga nudarentur. 
Titum instare Judaeae, Vespasianum obtinere claustra Aegypti 
placuit. Sufficere videbantur adversus Vitellium pars copiarum 5 

5 speciem . . . effecerant] Made this served to cover the cases of 

him look like a de facto emperor, those promoted without, 
not merely a claimant for empire. 3 neque M. . . . ne V. quidem] 

Ch. LXXXII. 1 revocare] Or. Mucianus, liberal as he was, and 

quotes an inscription which seems even Vespasian, dependent as he 

to show that this was a technical was on the army's devotion, did 

term applied to men discharged not think to buy it by such lavish - 

from ordinary service, but still liable ness. 

to be summoned on occasion. The quam alii in pace] Claudius 

evocaii were volunteers, so that the had given fifteen (Suetonius) or 

act. of that verb would be less ap- twenty (Josephus) sestertia a man, 

propriate. and Nero {Ann. xii. 69. 3) ap- 

2 segnes] Opposed to bonos, for parently the same ; Vespasian pro- 

the opposite fault, we are told, was bably gave the largest sum allowed 

passed over. by their precedents. 

vitia . . . dissimulans] Explained 4 claustra Aegypti] Not * the 
by what follows ; he found excuses passes into Egypt' (C. and B. ), 
for promoting all his prominent but 'the keys of Egypt,' i.e. the 
partisans, and as most of them command of its ports and the ex- 
justified their promotion by merit, port corn-trade to Rome. 


et dux Mucianus et Vespasiani nomen, ac nihil arduum fatis. 
Ad omnes exercitus legatosque scriptae epistolae, praeceptum- 
que, ut praetorianos Vitellio infensos reciperandae militiae 

83 praemio invitarent. Mucianus cum expedita manu, socium 
magis imperii quam ministrum agens, non lento itinere, ne 
cunctari videretur, neque tamen properans, gliscere famam 
ipso spatio sinebat, gnarus modicas vires sibi, et majora credi 
de absentibus. Sed legio sexta et tredecim vexillariorum milia 2 
ingenti agmine sequebantur. Classem e Ponto Byzantium 
adigi jusserat, ambiguus consilii, num, omissa Moesia, D'yr- 
rhachium pedite atque equite, simul longis navibus versum 
in Italiam mare clauderet, tuta pone tergum Achaia Asiaque, 
quas inermes exponi Vitellio, ni praesidiis nrmarentur ; atque 
ipsum Vitellium in incerto fore quam partem Italiae protegeret, 
si sibi Brundisium Tarentumque et Calabriae Lucaniaeque 

84 litora infestis classibus peterentur. Igitur navium, militum, 
armorum paratu strepere provinciae. Sed nihil aeque fatiga- 
bat quam pecuniarum conquisitio : eos esse belli civilis nervos 

5 Sufncere . . . fatis] * It Close the main port of communica- 
seemed enough to oppose to Vitellius tion with the south-eastern peninsula, 
a part of their forces, the conduct and then impede the navigation to 
of Mucianus, the name of Vespasian, more distant ones. The reader 
and lastly the omnipotence of will easily see and regret the temp- 
destiny.' There is a sarcasm in tation felt by the copyists of the 
dux Mucianus as well as adversus secondary MSS. to add peteret after 
Vitellium : Mucianus was not exactly equite. 

a stick, but it was no compliment Ch. LXXXIV. i belli civilis 

to use him to beat a dog with. As nervos] So Cic. Phil. v. 2. 5, 

it turned out, his generalship was where he is speaking of a civil war, 

never put to the proof: Antonius but does not use the epithet, which 

Primus had decided the campaign seems to indicate that then as now 

before he reached Italy. the phrase was proverbial without- 

praetorianos] See 67. I, iii. 24. it. But the restriction to civil war 

3. was more necessary in the age of 

Ch. LXXXIII. i socium ... the Roman empire than in modern 

imperii] So consortem imperii, iii. times. A war like that between 

75. 3. Vitellius and Vespasian was more 

2 tredecim vexillariorum milia] like one between two civilized 

The revocati veterani of 82. 1. European states than an invasion 

Classem] 40 ships. of Germany or Dacia would have 

Dyrrhacnium . . . clauderetj been. It was only a civil war that 




dictitans Mucianus, non jus aut verum in cognitionibus, sed 
solam magnitudinem opum spectabat. Passim delation es, et 2 
locupletissimus quisque in praedam correpti. Quae gravia 
atque intoleranda, sed necessitate armorum excusata, etiam in 
pace mansere, ipso Vespasiano, inter initia imperii, ad obti- 
nendas iniquitates haud perinde obstinante, donee indulgentia 
fortunae et pravis magistris didicit aususque est. Propriis 3 
quoque opibus Mucianus bellum juvit, largus privatim, quod 
avidius de re publica sumeret. Ceteri conferendarum pecuni- 
arum exemplum secuti : rarissimus quisque eandem in reciper- 
ando licentiam habuerunt. 

Adcelerata interim Vespasiani coepta Illyrici exercitus 
studio, transgressi in partes. Tertia legio exemplum ceteris 

caused acies paribus concurrere telis 
(cf. iii. 27. 4), and it tended to be 
a war between two armies, not 
between an invading army and a 
nation in arms ; which would pre- 
vent the commander making * war 
support war ' without restrictions of 
conscience or prudence. The at- 
traction of eos to agree with the pre- 
dicate is familiar, e.g. Aen. vi. 129. 
in cognitionibus, etc.] All pend- 
ing trials had to be hurried on before 
the proconsul's departure ; and then 
he gave judgment, right or wrong, 
against every one whose property 
was worth confiscating or fining — 
perhaps also in favour of any one 
who could only afford to bribe. 

2 Quae . . . mansere] Probably 
not actual corruption, but the harsh 
enforcement of vexatious claims of 
the Fiscus : cf. Juv. iv. 46-56. 

ad obtinendas iniquitates] 'In 
holding his ground when wrong,' 
Maintaining unjust acts.' Haud 
perinde may mean, not so much as 
Mucianus, or not as much as he 
himself did afterwards. 

3 quod avidius] One copyist 
not absurdly conjectures quo. The 
fact is, that Tacitus begins the 
sentence, meaning to put side 

by side in contrast Mucianus's 
private liberality and avarice at the 
public cost. Then, when he has 
(as he intended) stated the first 
absolutely, it occurs to him to say, 
it was proportioned to the second : 
the proper Latin for this would 
have been eo privatim largior quo 
avidius, etc. But he does not want 
to alter the positive statement 
largus privatim, and if he put quo 
without the correlative comp. pre- 
ceding, it would be worse than 
ambiguous, as it would naturally 
mean ' liberal in order that he might 
take,' which is not the sense in- 
tended. Accordingly, he writes 
quod for quo, leaving in the comp. 
avidius the one trace of the constr. 
that occurred to him in the middle 
of the sentence. 

rarissimus quisque] 'It was at 
very wide intervals that you found 
any one who . . .' The use of 
quisque is more akin to that with 
quotus and ordinal numerals, than 
to the one with ordinary super- 
latives ; but Cic. Fin. ii. 25. 81, 
optimum quidque rarissimum, may 
be admitted as a partial illustration. 

Ch, LXXXV. 1 Illyrici] 
Illyricum includes both Moesia, 


Moesiae legionibus praebuit Octava erat ac septima Claudi- 
ana inbutae favore Othonis, quamvis praelio non interfuissent. 
Aquileiam progressae, proturbatis qui de Othone nuntiabant, 2 
laceratisque vexillis nomen Vitellii praeferentibus, rapta post- 
remo pecunia et inter se divisa, hostiliter egerant. Unde 
metus, et ex metu consilium : posse imputari Vespasiano quae 
apud Vitelliura excusanda erant. Ita tres Moesicae legiones 3 
per epistolas adliciebant Pannonicum exercitum, aut abnuenti 
vim parabant. In eo motu Aponius Saturninus, Moesiae 
rector, pessimum facinus audet, misso centurione ad inter- 
ficiendum Tettium Julianum, septimae legionis legatum, ob 
simultates, quibus causam partium praetendebat. Julianus, 
comperto discrimine, et gnaris locorum adscitis, per avia 
Moesiae ultra montem Haemum profugit. Nee deinde civili 
bello intermit, per varias moras susceptum ad Vespasianum 
86 iter trahens, et ex nuntiis cunctabundus aut properans. At in 
Pannonia tertia decima legio ac septima Galbiana, dolorem 
iramque Bedriacensis pugnae retinentes, haud cunctanter 
Vespasiano accessere, vi praecipua Primi Antonii. Is legibus 2 
nocens et tempore Neronis falsi damnatus. inter alia belli 
mala, senatorium ordinem reciperaverat. Praepositus a Galba 
septimae legioni scriptitasse Othoni credebatur, ducem se 
partibus offerens ; a quo neglectus in nullo Othoniani belli 
usu fuit. Labantibus Vitellii rebus Vespasianum secutus 3 
grande momentum addidit, strenuus manu, sermone promptus, 

Pannonia, and Dalmatia. Tertia, which was now administered in 

see 74. 2. For the other legions, Vitellius' name. 

see 46. 6. 3 septimae] The Claudian al- 

2 nomen V. praeferentibus] ready mentioned. 

So iii. 13. 4, 31. 3. The name as Ch. LXXXVI. i tertia decima] 

well as the figure oi the emperor 11. 2, 43. 3, 67. 2; the 7th is 

was inscribed on the standard : and mentioned also in the first and last 

the custom seems traceable back to passages. 

the times of the Republic, or at 2 falsi damnatus . . . ordinem 

least was supposed to have existed reciperaverat] We have the for- 

then by writers of the empire. gery described in Ann. xiv. 40. 

pecunia] The military chest, Compare i. 77. 6. 


serendae in alios invidiae artifex, discordiis et seditionibus 
potens, raptor, largitor, pace pessimus, bello non spernendus. 
Juncti inde Moesici ac Pannonici exercitus Delmaticum militem 4 
traxere, quamquam consularibus legatis nihil turbantibus. 
Titus Ampius Flavlanus Pannoniam, Pompeius Silvanus 
Delmatiam tenebant, divites senes. Sed procurator aderat 5 
Cornelius Fuscus, vigens aetate, Claris natalibus. Prima 
juventa, quietis cupidine, senatorium ordinem exuerat. Idem 6 
pro Galba dux coloniae suae, eaque opera procurationem 
adeptus, susceptis Vespasiani partibus, acerrimam bello facem 
praetulit : non tarn praemiis periculorum quam ipsis periculis 
laetus, pro certis et olim partis, nova, ambigua, ancipitia male- 
bat. Igitur movere et quatere, quicquid usquam aegrum foret, 7 
adgrediuntur. Scriptae in Eritanniam ad quartadecimanos, 
in Hispaniam ad primanos epistolae, quod utraque legio pro 
Othone adversa Vitellio fuerat. Sparguntur per Gallias literae ; 8 
momentoque temporis flagrabat ingens bellum, Illyricis exer- 
citibus palam desciscentibus, ceteris fortunam secuturis. 
} 7 Dum haec per provincias a Vespasiano ducibusque partium 
geruntur, Vitellius contemptior in dies segniorque, ad omnes 
municipiorum villarumque amoenitates resistens, gravi urbem 

3 raptor, largitor] See on 10. Which accounts for our finding 

3. him a procurator, an office always 

5 procurator] Some think, of held by an eques at highest, 

both provinces ; if this be impos- 6 coloniae suae] Impossible to 

sible, probablyl of the last mentioned. identify. 

Cornelius Fuscus] Afterwards 7 adgrediuntur] Or. takes the 

killed in the Dacian war under subject to be Vespasiaims et partium 

Domitian. The character here given duces. But igitur has a better 

of him illustrates the significance force, if we take it of Primus and 

of Juvenal's marmorea meditatus Fuscus, whose desire for disturb- 

praelia villa (iv. 112); he had a ance has been expressly noted, 

sincere and zealous liking both for quartadecimanos . . . primanos] 

quies and for pericula : he enjoyed See 66 sq. 

considerable and honourable danger, Ch. LXXXVII. i resistens] 

but disl'ked the worries of civic Making a dead stop, so that you 

business that occupied a senator had to bring a Iresh force into 

when not in a province. action every time, to get him to 

senatorium ordinem exuerat] move on again. 


agraine petebat. Sexaginta milia armatorum sequebantur, 2 
licentia corrupta ; calonum numerus amplior, procacissimis 
etiam inter servos lixarum ingeniis ; tot legatorum amicorumque 
comitatus inhabilis ad parendum, etiam si summa modestia 
regeretur. Onerabant multitudinem obvii ex urbe senatores 3 
equitesque, quidam metu, multi per adulationem, ceteri ac 
paulatim omnes, ne, aliis proficiscentibus, ipsi remanerent. 
Adgregabantur e plebe, flagitiosa per obsequia Vitellio cogniti, 4 
scurrae, histriones, aurigae, quibus ille amicitiarum dehonesta- 
raentis mire gaudebat. Nee coloniae modo aut mnnicipia, 5 
congestu copiarum, sed ipsi cultores arvaque, maturis jam 
i frugibus, ut hostile solum vastabantur. Multae et atroces 
inter se militum caedes, post seditionem Ticini coeptam 
manente legionum auxiliorumque discordia ; ubi adversus 
pagan os certandum foret, consensu. Sed plurima strages ad 2 
septimum ab urbe lapidem. Singulis ibi militibus Vitellius 
paratos cibos ut gladiatoriam saginam dividebat; et effusa 
plebes totis se castris miscuerat. Incuriosos milites (vernacula 3 
utebantururbanitate,) quidam spoliavere, abscisis furtim balteis, 

2 Sexaginta milia] Allowing able interpretation : see on i. 52. 1. 
for losses in battle and camp, What would Tacitus have said of 
Valens and Caecina must have had Napoleon, who, in the anxious 
as many, besides those brought up interval between Aspern and Wag- 
by Vitellius himself. Large num- ram, found time to hang a contractor 
bers therefore must have been de- for leaving his men unsupplied with 
tached on fu "lough, wine? For the technical sense of 

armatorum . . . calonum] Com- sagina, a gladiator's training diet, 

pare hi. 33. 1. compare Prop. v. 8. 25 ; from Quint. 

3 Onerabant multitudinem] The x. 5. 17, quasi militantes . . . re- 
numbers of the army made it hard ficit ac repara haec velut sagina 
to manage ; these visitors made it dicendi, it almost seems as though 
altogether unmanageable. it came to be used without a sneer 

ceteri ac paulatim omnes] of soldiers' rations. 

' The rest ' of those who came, who 3 vernacula . . . urbanitate] 

amounted gradually to 'all' who Vernula urbanitas is used in the 

were at Rome. same sense in Petronius. It may 

Ch. LXXXVIII. seditionem be doubted whether the sense is 

Ticini coeptam] See c. 68. sq., exactly 'the humour of slaves' — 

also 27. 3. rather of people who feel themselves 

2 singulis . . . dividebat] A ' at home. ' 
measure quite capable of an honour- 


an accincti forent rogitantes. Non tulit ludibrium insolens 
contumeliae animus : inermem populum gladiis invasere. 
Caesus inter alios pater militis, cum filium comitaretur ; deinde 4 
agnitus, et, volgata caede, temperatum ab innoxiis. In urbe 
tamen trepidatum, praecurrentibus passim militibus. Forum 
maxim e petebant, cupidine visendi locum in quo Galba jacu- 
isset Nee minus saevum spectaculum erant ipsi, tergis ferarum 5 
et ingentibus telis horrentes, cum turbam populi per inscitiam 
parum vitarent, aut, ubi lubrico viae vel occursu alicujus pro- 
cidissent, ad jurgium, mox ad manus et ferrum transirent. 
Quin et tribuni praefectique cum terrore et armatorum catervis 
09 volitabant. Ipse Vitellius a ponte Mulvio, insigni equo, palu- 
datus accinctusque, senatum et populum ante se agens, quo 
minus ut captam urbem ingrederetur, amicorum consilio deter- 
ritus, sumpta praetexta et composito agmine incessit. Quattuor 2 
legionum aquilae per frontem, totidemque circa e legionibus 
aliis vexilla, mox duodecim alarum signa, et post peditum 
ordines eques ; dein quattuor et triginta cohortes, ut nomina 
gentium aut species armorum forent, discretae. Ante aquilam 3 
praefecti castrorum tribunique et primi centurionum, Candida 
veste ; ceteri juxta suam quisque centuriam, armis donisque 

accincti] Whether their side- tonius asserts that he did enter the 

arms were safe. city in arms . Tacitus admits that 

4 locum in quo G. jacuissetj he came close to it, and that he 
Affecting to consider themselves as entered in military state, though he 
his avengers on his murderers, softened the appearance as con- 
though their original revolt had been cerned himself personally, 
against him : see 55. 2. Mulvio] M. has Mulvi here 

5 saevum] M. has scaevtcm, and at hi. 82. 1, and the gen. is not 
which the scribe may have written impossibly right ; but the usual 
not from mere carelessness but in the adjectival form is used at i. 87. 1, 
sense of 'ill-omened,' — which how- Ann, xiii. 47. 2. 

ever is not found before Appuleius. 2 quattuor . . . totidemque 

tergis . . . horrentes] Com- circa] The four eagles in the middle, 

pare Aen. v. 37. two vexilla on each side : see on 59. 4. 

Ch. LXXXIX. i] For the 3 aquilam] The singular indi- 

form of sentence, describing first cates that we are to understand 

what nearly happened and then suam quisque aquilam just as in the 

what prevented it, cf. 41. 4. Sue- next line, not simply ante aquilas. 


fulgentes. Et militum phalerae torquesque splendebant. 
Decora fades, et non Vitellio principe dignus exercitus. Sic 4 
Capitolium ingressus, atque ibi matrem complexus, Augustae 

9° nomine honoravit. Postera die, tanquam apud alterius civi- 
tatis senatum populumque, magnificam oration em de semet 
ipso prompsit, industriam temperantiamque suam laudibus 
adtollens, consciis flagitiorum ipsis qui aderant omnique Italia, 
per quam somno et luxu pudendus incesserat. Volgus tamen, 2 
vacuum curis, et sine falsi verique discrimine solitas adulation es 
edoctum, clamore et vocibus adstrepebat ; abnuentique nomen 
Augusti expressere ut adsumeret, tarn frustra quam recusa- 

9 l verat. Apud civitatem, cuncta interpretantem, funesti ominis 
loco acceptum est, quod maximum pontificatum adeptus 
Vitellius de cacrimoniis publicis xv. Kalendas Augustas 
edixisset, antiquitus infausto die Cremerensi Alliensique cladi- 
bus. Adeo omnis humani divinique juris expers, pari liber- 2 
torum, amicorum socordia, velut inter temulentos agebat 
Sed comitia consilium cum candidatis civiliter celebrans, 

4 matrem] 64. 3, iii. 67. 2. on February 13th {Fast. ii. 193 

Ch. XC. 1 alterius] The word sqq. ), perhaps it should have been 

is used because the contrast is sug- their departure from Rome, as all 

gested with the single one, his own. other authorities {e.g. Liv. vi. 1) 

Or. compares Agr. 17. 3, alterius agree with Tacitus. Suetonius 

successoris, 'any other' than the makes the bad omen consist in 

actual one, Frontinus ; also, less Vitellius receiving the pontificate 

reasonably, alterius belli in iii. I. 4. on the Alliensis dies. 

industriam temperantiamque J 2 adeo . . . socordia] 'So 

opposed to somno et luxu. But ignorant was he . . . while his 

Vitellius meant by temperantia not friends were as careless as he was 

temperance, but modesty — refusing ignorant.' 

titles, perhaps also abstaining from comitia . . . celebrans] As had 

confiscations. been the practice of Augustus, while 

2 tarn frustra] ' As idly. ' Ta- the elections were still formally 

citus means rather that Vitellius conducted in the Campus. Since 

with or without the name was Tiberius' accession the consuls 

ridiculous, than that nothing came were elected (of course on the 

of his taking or declining it. The emperor's nomination) in the Senate, 

refusal lost whatever significance it and the result announced in the 

might have had, by his taking it for Campus. Pliny in his Panegyric 

his" mother. explains these words, by his descrip- 

recusaverat] 62. 3. tion of Trajan's conduct, who, he 

Cn. XCI. 1 Cremerensi] Ovid says, used to behave with equal 

places the overthrow of the Fabii courtesy to Senate and people. 

HIsVoRIARUM II. 92. 173 

omnem infimae plebis rumorem, in theatro ut spectator, in 
circo ut fautor, adfectavit. Quae grata sane et popularia, si 3 
a virtutibus proficiscerentur, memoria vitae prions indecora 
et vilia accipiebantur. Ventitabat in senatum, etiara cum 
parvis de rebus patres consulerentur. Ac forte Priscus Hel- 4 
vidius, praetor designatus, contra studium ejus censuerat 
Commotus primo Vitellius, non tamen ultra quam tribunos 
plebis in auxilium spretae potestatis advocavit. Mox miti- 5 
gantibus amicis, qui altiorem iracundiam ejus verebantur, nihil 
novi accidisse, respondit, quod duo senatores in republica 
dissentirent ; solitum se etiam Thraseae contradicere. Inrisere 6 
plerique inpudentiam aemulationis ; aliis id ipsum placebat, 
quod neminemex praepotentibus, sed Thraseam, ad exemplar 
92 verae gloriae legisset. Praeposuerat praetorianis Publium 
Sabinum, a praefectura cohortis, Julium Priscum turn centu- 
rionem : Priscus Valentis, Sabinus Caecinae gratia pollebant. 
Inter discordes Vitellio nihil auctoritatis. Munia imperii 2 
Caecina ac Valens obibant, olim anxii odiis, quae bello et 
castris male dissimulata pravitas amicorum et fecunda gignen- 
dis inimicitiis civitas auxerat, dum ambitu, comitatu, et 

ut fautor] Of the blue faction, much to provoke if not to deserve 

the second largest, and best worth his death under Vespasian ; and 

conciliating. Vitellius' avoidance of a rupture 

3 grata sane et popularia] So with him can hardly be denied to 
Augustus thought it civile, Ann. i. do credit, either to his good temper, 
54. 3. or to the sincerity of his anti-cae- 

4 spretae potestatis] He affects sarian feelings. 

to consider their interests as identical 6 ad exemplar] Not merely 'as 

with his : the tribunicia potestas has a type,' but 'as his model.' He 

been outraged, so it becomes the wished, as pri7iceps senatus, to hold 

tribunes to interfere. the position that Thrasea had held 

5 altiorem iracundiam] That as first man in the senate. 

there was greater anger deeply Ch. XCII. 1 a praefectura . . . 

seated than what was displayed. turn centurionem] They were pro- 

Thraseae] Conciliatory not only moted by interest, over the heads 

to the Senate, but to Helvidius of their superior officers, 

himself, his son-in-law. We may discordes] Perhaps the repeti- 

gather from Ann. xvi. 21. I that tion of the names Caecina ac Valetis 

Thrasea's character commanded a in the next sentence is to show that 

respect not confined to stoics and this word refers to Sabinus and 

doctrinaire republicans: but it is Priscus. The two generals managed 

generally held that Helvidius did everything, and the emperor went 


inraensis salutantium agminibus contendunt comparanturque, 
variis in hunc aut ilium Vitellii inclinationibus. Nee unquam 3 
satis fida potentia, ubi nimia est. Simul ipsum Vitellium, 
subitis ofFensis aut intempestivis blanditiis mutabilem, contem- 
nebant metuebantque. Nee eo segnius invaserant domos, 4 
hortos, opesque imperii, cum flebilis et egens nobilium turba, 
quos ipsos liberosque patriae Galba reddiderat, nulla principis 
misericordia juvarentur. Gratum primoribus civitatis etiam 5 
plebs adprobavit, quod reversis ab exsilio jura libertorum 
concessisset, quamquam id omni modo servilia ingenia cor- 
rumpebant, abditis pecuniis per occultos aut ambitiosos 
sinus, et quidam in domum Caesaris transgressi, atque ipsis 
dominis potentiores. 
93 Sed miles, plenis castris et redundante multitudine, in porti- 
cibus aut delubris et urbe tota vagus, non principia noscere, 
non servare vigilias, neque labore flrmari : per illecebras urbis 
et inhonesta dictu, corpus otio, animum libidinibus imminue- 
bant. Postremo, ne salutis quidem cura, infamibus Vaticani 2 
locis magna pars tetendit; unde crebrae in volgus mortes. 

for nothing ; therefore, if their two title to their independence, 

creatures quarrelled, he could not per occultos aut ambitiosos 

keep the peace, but the principals sinus] * Distributed in pockets, 

had to fight it out. either out of sight, or at the com- 

3 Nee unctuam . . . simul ip- mand of intrigue, ' i.e. so powerful 

sum . . . mutabilem] Two reasons that no one could get at them, 

are given for their having no per- except by the insinuating arts of 

sonal attachment to Vitellius. The those who deposited the money 

position of a court-favourite forbids there. Sinus is properly the front 

confidence, and Vitellius' character fold of the toga ; for the metonymic 

did not deserve it. use, compare iii. 19. 3, iv. 14. 4, 

5 jura libertorum] 'Their rights and perhaps Ann. xiii. 13. 2. 

over their freedmen ; ' which had an Caesaris] Cf. 65. 2, n. 

appreciable money value, as in- Ch. XCIII. i. castris] The 

eluding the claim to levy ' benevol- Praetorian. 

ences' on them, and to share in their porticibus aut delubris] Cf. i. 

inheritance. These rights had been 31. 2, 3. 

(so to speak) confiscated with their 2 infamibus] Used of a dangerous 

other property, and unlike the rest place (though in a different way) in 

could be restored without wrong to Hor. Od. i. 3. 20 ; Or. quotes from 

any one, for the freedmen could not Frontinus a passage where in/amis 

be considered to have any moral aer is used exactly in his sense. 


Et adjacente Tiberi, Germanorum Gallorumque obnoxia 
morbis corpora fluminis aviditas et aestus inpatientia labefecit. 
Insuper confusus pravitate vel ambitu ordo militiae. Sedecim 3 
praetoriae, quattuor urbanae cohortes scribebantur, quis singula 
milia inessent. Plus in eo delectu Valens audebat, tamquam 
ipsum Caecinam periculo exemisset. Sane adventu ejus partes 4 
convaluerant, et sinistrum lenti itineris rumorem prospero 
praelio verterat. Omnisque inferioris Germaniae miles Valen- 
tem adsectabatur ; unde primum creditur Caecinae fides flui- 
94 tasse. Ceterum non ita ducibus indulsit Vitellius ut non plus 
militi liceret. Sibi quisque militiam sumpsere : quamvis 
indignus, si ita maluerat, urbanae militiae adscribebatur ; 
rursus bonis remanere inter legionarios aut alares volentibus 
permissum. Nee deerant qui vellent, fessi morbis et intern- 2 
periem caeli incusantes. Robora tamen legionibus alisque 
subtracta, convolsum castrorum decus, viginti milibus e toto 
exercitu permixtis magis quam electis. 

Contionante Vitellio, postulantur ad supplicium Asiaticus 3 
et Flavius et Rufinus, duces Galliarum, quod pro Vindice 
bellassent. Nee coercebat ejusmodi voces Vitellius : super 

3 Sedecim praetoriae, quattuor legion, not the detached alae of the 

urbanae cohortes] Under Tiberius, allies. 

there were nine of the former and 2 convolsum castrorum decus] 

three of the latter, Ann. iv. 5. 4 ; The new praetorians had no superi- 

perhaps it is likely that the number ority in discipline, for as many of 

had been increased gradually. But them were bad troops as good ; the 

the old praetorians had been dis- name gave them no superiority in 

missed, 67. I. reputation, because the rest of the 

3, 4 Caecinam periculo exemis- troops knew this, and some had 

set . . . lenti itineris] 26. 3, 27. refused the transfers. So they 

1, 30. 1, 2. gained nothing to counterbalance 

Ch. XCIV. 1 urbanae militiae the loss of the legions, 

always includes service in the prae- 3 duces] Native chieftains ; they 

torian as well as the city cohorts. are usually called prinap6S, but 

alares seems from the context to here the word follows in the next § 

mean Roman, not auxiliary cavalry ; in the sense of 'emperors.' He 

it is not likely that the laxity went gives them no Gentile names, 

so far as to admit the latter to the doubtless because they were all . 

city service. So alts in the next § Claudii or Julii. 

must mean the ala attached to each Nee coercebat . . . largiabatur 


insitam marcenti animo ignaviam, conscius sibi instare dona- 

tivom, et deesse pecuniam, omnia alia militi largiebatur. 

Liberti principum conferre pro numero mancipiorum, ut 4 

tributum, jussi. Ipse, sola perdendi cura, stabula aurigis 

exstruere, circum gladiatorum ferarumque spectaculis opplere, 

95 tamquam in summa abundantia pecuniae inludere. Quin et 

natalem Vitellii diem Caecina ac Valens, editis tota urbe 

vicatim gladiatoribus, celebravere, ingenti paratu et ante ilium 

diem insolito. Laetum foedissimo cuique, apud bonos invidiae 2 

fuit, quod exstructis in campo Martio aris inferias Neroni 

fecisset. Caesae publice victimae cremataeque ; facem Augus- 3 

tales subdidere : quod sacerdotium, ut Romulus Tatio regi, 

ita Caesar Tiberius Juliae genti sacravit. Nondum quartus a 4 

victoria mensis, et libertus Vitellii, Asiaticus, Polyclitos, Patro- 

bios, et Vetera odiorum nomina aequabat. Nemo in ilia aula 

probitate aut indu stria certavit ; unum ad potentiam iter, 

prodigis epulis et sumptu ganeaque satiare inexplebiles Vitellii 

libidines. Ipse abunde ratus si praesentibus frueretur, nee in 

longius consultans, novies milies sestertium paucissimis mensi- 

bus intervertisse creditur. Magna et misera civitas, eodem anno 6 

Othonem Vitelliumque passa, inter Vinios, Fabios, Icelos, 

Asiaticos, varia et pudenda sorte agebat, donee successere 

Mucianus et Marcellus, et magis alii homines quam alii mores, 

implies, without saying, that they self : there, as here, it is intimated 

were executed. that Tiberius quoted the precedent. 

4 principum] Of former em- 4 Nondum . . . aequabat] 

perors. Compare i. 37. 8. 

pecuniae] A dat. ; ' fooling away 6 Vinios, Fabios, Icelos, Asia- 

his money,' C. and B. ticos] After the pair of bad 

Ch. XCV. 1 natalem Vitellii emperors, follow two pairs of bad 

diem] Curiously enough, Suetonius favourites, belonging to dinerent 

could not ascertain whether this classes. Caecina is left out, partly 

was the 7th or 24th of September. for symmetry, and partly because 

And either way he makes his birth he was not avaricious, 

two years later than Tacitus ; see Marcellus] His influence per- 

iii. &6. 1. haps was increased after the fall 

3 Romulus Tatio regi] In Ann. of his enemy Helvidius ; still it is 

i. 54. 1, the Tilii societies are said to curious that he should be referred 

have been founded by Tatius him- to Vespasian's reign, instead of 


9^ Prima Vitellio tertiae legionis defectio nuntiatur, missis ab 
Aponio Saturnino epistolis, antequam is quoque Vespasiani 
partibus adgregaretur. Sed neque Aponius cuncta, ut trepi- 2 
dans re subita, perscripserat, et amici adulantes mollius inter- 
pretabantur : unius legionis earn seditionem, ceteris exercitibus 
constare fidem. In hunc modum etiam Vitellius apud milites 3 
disseruit, praetorianos nuper exauctoratos insectatus, a quibus 
falsos rumores dispergi, nee ullum civilis belli metum, adsevera- 
bat, suppresso Vespasiani nomine, et vagis per urbem militibus 

"' qui sermones populi coercerent. Id praecipuum alimentum 
famae erat. Auxilia tamen e Germania Britanniaque et His- 
paniis excivit, segniter et necessitatem dissimulans. Perinde 
legati provinciaeque cunctabantur, Hordeonius Flaccus sus- 
. pectis jam Batavis anxius proprio bello, Vettius Bolanus nun- 
quam satis quieta Britannia, et uterque ambigui. Neque ex 2 
Hispaniis properabatur, nullo turn ibi consulari : trium legio- 
num legati, pares jure et, prosperis Vitellii rebus, certaturi ad 
obsequium, adversam ejus fortunam ex aequo detrectabant. 
In Africa legio cohortesque, delectae a Clodio Macro, mox a 3 
Galba dimissae, rursus jussu Vitellii militiam cepere. Simul 
cetera juventus dabat inpigre nomina. Quippe integrum illic 4 
ac favorabilem proconsulatum Vitellius, famosum invisumque 

being regarded as a survival from ing his men out of civil discord, i. 

Nero's. He was put to death as a 9. 3, Agr. 16. 6. 

sharer in Caecina's conspiracy. 2 nullo . . . consulari] Cluvius 

Ch. XCVI. 1 tertiae legionis Rufus had left it, 65. 1. 

. . . Aponio Saturnino] 85. 1, 3. 3 a Clodio Macro] i. 7. 1, 11. 2. 

3 suppresso V. nomine] Either 4 favorabilem] A silver-age 

trying or affecting to believe that word, first found in Velleius : the 

Vespasian himself had not revolted subst. favor itself was new in 

(cf. 73. 1 ) he disguises the fact that Cicero's time, Pro Sest. 54. 115. 

this legion had revolted in his In the Dial, de Or. (7. 1) the adj. 

cause. is used in a somewhat different 

Ch. XCVII. 1 Perinde] Just sense, 'not apt to bestow favor,' 

the same way as the emperor. favor abilis oratio in Ann. ii. 37. 1, 

ambigui] Flaccus continued to xii. 6. 1 is more like this, 

hesitate till after the battle of famosum invisumque] Suetonius 

Cremona, iv. 24. 4, 31. 3, Bolanus gives a much more favourable 

apparently devoted himself to keep- account of it. 

TAC. II. ; tI 


Vespasianus egerat : proinde socii de imperio utriusque con- 

98 jectabant. Sed experimentum contra fuit. Ac primo Valerius 
Festus, legatus, studia provincialium cum fide juvit ; mox 

'nutabat, palam epistolis edictisque Vitellium, occultis nuntiis 
Vespasianum fovens, et haec illave defensurus, prout invalu- 
issent. Deprehensi cum Uteris edictisque Vespasiani per 2 
Raetiam et Gallias militum et centurionum quidam, ad Vitel- 
lium missi necantur : plures fefellere, fide amicorum aut suomet 
astu bccultati. Ita Vitellii paratus noscebantur, Vespasiani 3 
consiliorum pleraque ignota, primum socordia Vitellii ; dein 
Pannonicae Alpes praesidiis insessae nuntios retinebant. Mare 
quoque Etesiarum flatu in Orientem navigantibus secundum, 

99 inde adversum erat. Tandem inruptione hostium, atrocibus 
undique nuntiis exterritus, Caecinam ac Valentem expedire ad 
bellum jubet. Praemissus Caecina : Valentem e gravi corporis 
morbo turn primum adsurgentem infirmitas tardabat. Longe 2 
alia proficiscentis ex urbe Germanici exercitus species : non 
vigor corporibus, non ardor animis ; lentum et rarum agmen, 
fluxa arma, segnes equi ; inpatiens solis, pulveris, tempestatum, 
quantumque hebes ad sustinendum laborem miles, tanto ad 
discordias promptior. Accedebat hue Caecinae ambitio ve.tus, 3 
torpor recens mmia fortunae indulgentia soluti in luxum : seu 
perfidiam meditanti infringere exercitus virtutem inter artes 
erat. Credidere plerique Flavii Sabini consiliis concussam 4 
Caecinae mentem, ministro sermonum Rubrio Gallo : rata 

Ch. XCVIII. 1 Valerius Festus] 2 Longe alia] Than what it had 

He was related to Vitellius, iv. been at its entry. 

49. 1. 3 ambitio vetus] His old habit 

3 Pannonicae Alpes . . . Mare] . of courting the troops by humour- 
Isolated Illyricum and the east ing them, 
respectively. seu . . . inter artes erat] 

Etesiarum] The n.w. monsoons Roman writers speak of 'luxury 5 

of the Levant, usually reckoned to in a half superstitious way, as 

blow for forty days from July 20th. though it were a definite custom or 

Ch. XCIX. 1 expedire] M. has institution, deliberately adopted by 

expeairi, but see i. 88. 2, and note or suggested to a community, 
on i. 10. 3. 


apud Vespasianum fore pacta transitionis. Simul odiorura 5 
invidiaeque erga Fabium Valentem admonebatur, ut inpar 
apud Vitellium, gratiam viresque apud novum principem 
100 Caecina e complexu Vitellii multo cum honore digressus, 
partem equitum ad occupandam Cremonam praemisit. Mox 
t vexilla in quattuor decum xm. legionum, dein quinta et 
duoetvicesima secutae ; postremo agmine unaetvicesima Rapax 
et prima Italica incessere, cum vexillariis trium Britannicarum 
legionum et electis auxiliis. Profecto Caecina scripsit Fabius 2 
Valens exercitui quern ipse ductaverat, ut in itinere opperiretur : 
sic sibi cum Caecina convenisse ; qui praesens, eoque validior, 
immutatum id consilium finxit, ut ingruenti bello tota mole 
occurreretur. Ita adcelerare legiones Cremonam, pars Hosti- 3 
liam petere jussae : ipse Ravennam devertit, praetexto classem 
adloquendi. Mox Patavii secretum componendae proditionis 
quaesitum. Namque Lucilius Bassus, post praefecturam alae, 4 
Ravennati simul ac Misenensi classibus a Vitellio praepositus, 
quod non statim praefecturam praetorii adeptus foret, iniquam 
iracundiam flagitiosa perfidia ulciscebatur. Nee sciri potest 

Ch. C. 1 e complexu V.J His present. Perhaps the source of the 

unsuspiciousness is dwelt on, as corruption is from a scribe having 

aggravating Caecina's treason ; but found the passage written in figures, 

perhaps it is also meant to indicate and not known whether to express 

a maudlin effusiveness on his part. them by cardinal or ordinal num- 

vexilla . . . legionum] So M., bers. 
and Or. prints it as it stands, not 2 ductaverat] ' Had been (per- 

being satisfied with any of the manently) commander of. J This 

corrections proposed. From iii. force, that of Lower Germany, in- 

22. 2, it appears that the legions eluded (i. 55. 2) the 1st, 5th, 15th, 

which marched with Caecina were and 16th legions, 
(besides the 5th, 22d, 21st, and 1st 3] He first goes to Ravenna, and 

Italian, and the vexilla of the 9th, makes a speech to the troops 

2d, and 20th), the 4th, 15th, 16th, belonging to the fleet: picks up 

and ist {Germanica). The names Bassus (which perhaps was his 

of some or all of these no doubt sole design in going there), takes 

occurred here ; very likely vexilla is him to Patavium, apart from his own 

corrupt, as well as the following men, and arranges there for the 

words, since the whole of these betrayal of both fleet and army, 
eight legions seem to have been 4 iniquam iracundiam] He had 


traxeritne Caecinam, an (quod evenit inter malos, ut et similes 
IOI sint,) eadem illos pravitas inpulerit Scriptores temporum, 
qui potiente rerum Flavia domo monumenta belli hujusce 
composuerunt, curam pacis et amorem reipublicae, corruptas 
in adulationem causas, tradidere. Nobis, super insitam levi- 
tatem, et prodito Galba vilem mox fidem, aemulatione etiam 
invidiaque, ne ab aliis apud Vitellium anteirentur, pervertisse 
.ipsum videntur. Caecina legiones adsecutus, centurionum 
militumque animos obstinatos pro Vitellio variis artibus 
subruebat. Basso eadem molienti minor difficultas erat, lubrica 
ad mutandam fidem classe ob memoriam recentis pro Othone 

a better claim than Priscus, perhaps 
than Sabinus.; but any tribune not 
clearly disqualified had a better 
claim than he. 

Ch. CI. i Scriptores temporum] 
Among whom was Mucianus him- 

Flavia domo] Down therefore 
to the end of Domitian's reign. 
Perhaps Bassus lived and flourished 
till then : Caecina was put to death 
by Titus' orders, shortly before the 
death of Vespasian, so that flattery 
to him cannot have been a necessary 
compliment to the Flavii. 

corruptas , . . causas] ' Motives 
falsified by way of flattery.' For 
the sentiment, compare iii. 86. 4. 

2 vilem mox fidem] ' The small 

value set on allegiance after the 
betrayal of Galba. 5 Mox generally 
means ' afterwards ' much more 
than 'soon.' 

anteirentur. . . videntur] Some 
desire to read the sing. , under- 
standing it of Caecina alone, be- 
cause he alone could be said to 
have betrayed Galba. But this is 
needless : Bassus was demoralised 
by treason he did not initiate. 

ipsum] Sc. Vitellium; indeed, M. 
inserts the name. All edd. excise 
it as a gloss : yet it is not a point- 
less repetition to say, they were so 
jealous of Vitellius' regard, that 
they ruined Vitellius himself to 
secure it. 

(Gftinburglj ©mbergits $ress : 


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